Ruling Party Romps Home in Local Elections
The ruling Minjoo Party won a sweeping victory in local elections held on Wednesday, taking 14 out of 17 major districts.
The main opposition Liberty Korea Party only held on to Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province, its political stronghold, while independent Won Hee-ryong took Jeju Island.
Minjoo's resounding victory is a tremendous boost to President Moon Jae-in pursuing sometimes contentious policies, while the opposition leadership, still reeling from the collapse of the Park Geun-hye administration, is in for another shakeup.
Incumbent Mayor Park Won-soon won another term in Seoul, while Minjoo candidate Lee Jae-myung won the race for Gyeonggi Province governor despite an adultery scandal hanging over his head.
Ruling party candidates won even in wealthy districts of Seoul and parts of northern Gyeonggi Province close to North Korea, which traditionally favored the most conservative candidates.
Park took 52.8 percent of the votes compared to rival Kim Moon-soo's 23.3 percent. The Bareun Future Party’s candidate, the once popular IT tycoon Ahn Cheol-soo, came third with 19.55 percent. Park is the first Seoul mayor to win three terms in a row.
Lee won 56.4 percent in Gyeonggi Province despite being accused of an affair with actress Kim Bu-sun, which puts him in pole position for the next presidential election.
Minjoo candidate Kim Kyoung-soo, who was accused of playing a role in an opinion-rigging scandal, also managed to win the race for South Gyeongsang Province with 52.8 percent, beating the LKP's Kim Tae-ho, who took 42.96 percent, and becoming the first non-conservative governor of the region.
The Minjoo Party also came in first in 152 districts choosing mayors, county and ward chiefs, while the LKP won in only 53 districts.