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South Korean ruling party loses key mayoral elections

08/04/2021 04:50 PM

ANKARA, April 8 -- South Korea’s ruling party lost mayoral by-elections in two key cities, Anadolu Agency quoted a local media report on Thursday.

The Wednesday by-elections in the capital Seoul and Busan, the country’s second-largest city, were won by the main opposition People Power Party (PPP), according to Yonhap News Agency.

In Seoul, the PPP’s Oh Se-hoon defeated his ruling Democratic Party (DP) rival Park Young-sun with 57.5 per cent of the vote, while in Busan, the PPP’s Park Heong-joon beat DP’s Kim Young-choon with 63 per cent of the vote.

The opposition party also swept 13 of 19 other local posts up for grabs in the elections, according to the country's National Election Commission.

The losses follow years of victories by the ruling party, including two consecutive general elections in 2016 and 2020, the 2017 presidential election, and 2018 local elections.

The polls, especially in Seoul, home to nearly 10 million of the country's 52 million population, are seen as harbingers of public opinion ahead of the March 2022 presidential election, according to Yonhap.

Following the announcement of the results, the ruling party’s acting Chairman Kim Tae-nyeon stepped down, taking responsibility for the defeat.

"Taking responsibility for the results of the elections, all (members of) the DP leadership are stepping down," the agency quoted Kim as saying to reporters.

"Through the election this time, the people have given the DP a lot of tasks," he added.

President Moon Jae-in also called the results a "reprimand" from the public.

He said he would concentrate efforts on meeting the people's "desperate demands," including overcoming the COVID-19 crisis, revitalising the economy, stabilising people's livelihoods and the real estate market, and rooting out corruption, the agency quoted Moon as saying.




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