South Korea opposition wins landslide victory in parliamentary vote

Saturday, Apr 13, 2024

SEOUL: South Korea’s liberal opposition scored a landslide victory in a parliamentary election, vote counts showed on Thursday, dealing a resounding blow to President Yoon Suk Yeol and his conservative party but falling just short of a super majority.

The Democratic Party (DP) was projected to take 175 of the 300 seats in the new assembly, data from the National Election Commission and network broadcasters showed with all votes counted. A splinter liberal party considered allied with the DP was expected to take 12 seats, projections showed, leaving the bloc short of the 200 seats needed for a super-majority. Yoon’s People Power Party (PPP) was set to win 108 seats. An official announcement of the results is due later on Thursday.

DP leader Lee Jae-myung, who led a combative campaign against Yoon, said the top priority now was to work for an economic recovery that is palpable for the average consumer.“The ruling and opposition parties must join forces to overcome the crisis in consumers’ economic livelihood,” he said.

The bitterly fought race was seen by some analysts as a referendum on Yoon, whose popularity has suffered amid a cost-of-living crisis and a spate of political scandals. Yoon, who took office in May 2022, was not up for election this time but his ability to pass legislation is likely to be further inhibited by the PPP’s poor showing.

He has suffered low ratings for months, hamstrung in implementing his pledges to cut taxes, ease business regulations and expand family support in the world’s fastest ageing society.