The party won only 20 minor races in the elections, where more than 4,000 local administrative, legislative and educational posts, including 17 big-city mayoralties and provincial governorships, were up for grabs, in addition to 12 National Assembly seats.
"I solemnly accept the people's choices and resign to take responsibility for the election defeat," Rep. Yoo Seong-min, a co-leader of the party, said during a news conference. "I offer heartfelt thanks to those who supported our candidates."
|Rep. Yoo Seong-min, a co-leader of the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party, announces his resignation during a news conference Thursday. (Yonhap)|
The party came into being in February through a merger of two minor parties with divergent support bases, one of them center right and the other center left, in a bold experiment in South Korean politics where regional loyalties remain strong.
This week's elections were the first nationwide elections for the party.
Yoo said that he devoted himself to efforts to have "reformist conservatism" take root in South Korean politics but failed to meet people's expectations. He also said that results of Wednesday's elections represented not only support for the Moon Jae-in government, but it also was a verdict on conservatism.
"I will think about how to save the terribly collapsed conservatism," he said.
The ruling Democratic Party won a resounding victory, taking 14 out of the 17 big races, including Seoul mayor, 11 out of the 12 parliamentary seats, and more than 60 percent of regional administrative and legislative posts. (Yonhap)