The results on Wednesday reflected voters’ deep dissatisfaction with the liberal administration of President Roh Moo-hyun, who is limited to a single five-year term by the Constitution, and his handling of the economy. By turning to Mr. Lee [Myung-bak], the candidate of the opposition conservative Grand National Party, South Koreans put bread-and-butter issues ahead of the larger themes of social equality, political change and reconciliation with North Korea that had influenced their votes in the past decade.
Which is to say that if President Roh had been able to run for reelection, the unhappy electorate might have reflexively voted against him (think Kerry in 2004). With a term limit (of one), there is at least the pretense that voters are voting for policies and not politicians . . .