03 June 2010

Election results in Korea

After long weeks of advertising - which in Korea includes packs of dancing girls on the corner and roaming trucks with speechifying candidates aboard - the elections here were held yesterday. Most businesses closed down in deference to the event, a tradition that the U.S. should consider implementing.

The results were pretty bad for the GNP (Grand National Party) that's currently in control. They had been anticipating a sweeping tide in their favor based on previous polling, but the handling of the Cheonnan crisis has left them high and dry. From the NYT:
[T]he president’s party won only 6 of 16 crucial races to elect mayors and governors in big cities and provinces in the voting on Wednesday. Its main rival, the opposition Democratic Party, won seven races. The remaining three races were won by independents and a candidate from a small opposition party.

The mayor of Seoul, Oh Se-hoon, who is a member of Mr. Lee’s party, won re-election by a razor-thin margin. But in a hotly contested mayoral race in Incheon, a large port city west of Seoul, the opposition candidate, Song Young-gil, a vocal critic of Mr. Lee, won an unexpected victory. The ship’s sinking was an especially significant election issue there, because the ship went down in waters in Incheon’s jurisdiction.
Both in Jeju-do and Jeollanam-do, the GNP is pretty reviled. This seems to have made a lot of people pretty happy.

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