This year‘s set of local and parliamentary by-elections were dubbed the “mini-general elections,” and seen as a crucial step leading to bigger political events in the coming years, including the general and presidential elections.
While the victorious ruling party is set to enjoy greater political momentum, the opposition camp is set for a broadscale restructuring, starting with leadership resignation and overhauls.
The ruling Democratic Party won 11 of the 12 legislative seats, while the conservative Liberty Korea Party only secured one -- in the city of Gimcheon, North Gyeongsang Province.
The Jecheon-Danyang constituency in North Chungcheong Province race remained unclear till the last minute as the ruling and opposition candidates remained in a neck-and-neck race within the margin of error.
The ruling party’s seat in the 300-seat National Assembly rose from 119 to 130, widening the gap with the runner-up Liberty Korea Party which holds 112 seats.
Rising into spotlight during the by-election season was Seoul’s affluent Songpa-B district, where pivotal partisan figures set out for a symbolic race.
Choi Jae-sung of the ruling party, known for his close affiliation with President Moon Jae-in, scored an easy win with 54.4 percent.
Bae Hyun-jin of the Liberty Korea Party, former announcer of broadcaster MBC who made headlines by joining the political camp, ended up with 29.6 percent, despite the full-fledged support of party chief Hong Joon-pyo.
|Yoon Jun-ho, candidate of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea running for Busan's Haeundae-B district, on Wednesday rejoices at the exit poll announcement. (Yonhap)|
As for Haeundae-B district of Busan, the country’s second-largest city and representative conservative turf, Democratic Party runner Yoon Jun-ho led the race with 50.2 percent against conservative rival Kim Dae-sik.
The Democratic Party also scored an easy win in Gimhae-B, where the resignation of former Rep. Kim Kyung-soo left a vacancy. The southern city, which is the hometown of the late President Roh Moo-hyun, is considered a symbolic location for the Democratic Party.
By Bae Hyun-jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)