Koreans Vote in Local Elections
Voters cast their ballots in local elections and 12 by-elections for the National Assembly on Wednesday at 14,134 voting stations across the nation.
They will choose 4,016 government officials, including mayors, provincial governors and superintendents of education. The winners are expected to be determined at around 11 p.m.
Local elections are often seen as a verdict on the central government's performance, and the ruling Minjoo Party has a strong lead on the back of efforts to make peace with North Korea, pinning its hopes on portraying the Moon Jae-in administration as a resounding success.
The main opposition Liberty Korea Party by contrast hopes voters can be stirred to forget the disaster that was the Park Geun-hye administration and give the present government the thumbs-down for its poor economic policies.
The Bareun Future Party called on voters to keep the two major political parties in check.
Minjoo candidates are expected to win in 15 out of 17 major districts, while the LKP hopes to win in six to seven districts, including the Gyeongsang provinces, South Chungcheong Province and Gyeonggi Province.
The main candidates focused their efforts on campaigning in the Seoul metropolitan and Gyeongsang regions until the late in the night Tuesday.
The U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore and the fallout of the adultery scandal surrounding Gyeonggi gubernatorial candidate Lee Jae-myung are key variables expected that could sway voter sentiment at the last minute.