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Could a foreigner be elected mayor in Korea?

It is pretty amazing reading the story of Jung Heung-won. This Korean lived in Argentina for 10 years, then another five in Lima, until finally moving to Chanchamayo, where he has helped many of those in need. In reward for his efforts, he was easily elected mayor of the latter city this year, since any “foreigner granted residence in Peru can run for public office if he or she lives in the same electoral area for at least two years.”

But it needs to be asked: Could a foreigner who lived only two years in Korea become mayor of a city? I highly doubt it! Why, it is even hard for foreigners who have lived over 10 years here, and speak the language, to do so. And, even if it were possible for a foreigner who became a resident after two years to become a mayor in this country, how would Koreans feel? Would they feel proud, taking this as evidence of how enlightened that Korea has become, or would they feel envy, believing that outsiders are taking over their beloved land? Just some questions to ponder.

By Paul Maurer

Paul Maurer is an English teacher in Ilsan, Goyang City, Gyeonggi Province. ― Ed.