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Cash aid for South Korean businesses gains currency after GDP shock

First contraction in 22 years and key elections pressure government to take action

An empty storefront in Seoul. (Photo by Sotaro Suzuki) 

SEOUL -- A proposal for financial relief for struggling small-business owners has quickly advanced within South Korea's government and the ruling Democratic Party after the nation's economy shrank for the first time since 1998 last year.

The likelihood of such support has risen ahead of April's Seoul and Busan mayoral by-elections, widely seen as a prelude to the 2022 presidential election.

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