Saturday, 25 May, 2024


South Korea votes for new parliament

International Desk |
Update: 2024-04-10 09:34:34
South Korea votes for new parliament photo collected

South Korea is voting for a new parliament, in what is widely seen as a midterm referendum on President Yoon Suk Yeol’s administration.

Mr Yoon still has three years left in office but his People Power Party (PPP) has struggled to achieve its agenda in a legislature dominated by the opposition Democratic Party.

Polls are mixed but analysts have suggested the opposition may retain their majority or even increase it.

Yoon is under pressure to address a number of issues including rising food prices, a rapidly aging population and an ongoing doctor’s strike.

If Mr Yoon's party fails, he could leave office with little to show for his time, other than his foreign policy achievements.

His major success has been building up relations with Tokyo and Washington to counter China and North Korea. But that will have little bearing on this election. South Koreans will be voting in line with their wallets more than anything.

The president, whose approval ratings have been falling for months, has also weathered a series of political scandals since he was elected in March 2022.

A hot mic caught him swearing in September that year after a meeting with US President Joe Biden in New York. His wife Kim Keon Hee has been embroiled in a controversy for allegedly accepting a luxury bag gift.

Just last month, Mr Yoon drew criticism for being out of touch with the cost-of-living crisis during his visit to a grocery store in Seoul. He commented that a bundle of green onions priced at 875 won ($0.65) was "reasonable" while the item was temporarily discounted at the location he visited due to subsidies.

The usual retail price would have been between 3,000 won and 4,000 won.

The incident sparked a backlash, with farmers organising sit-in protests with bundles of green onions. The vegetable has also started appearing at the opposition Democratic Party's election rallies.

Voters will cast one ballot for their representatives in the National Assembly, which has a total of 254 seats. They will also vote for a political party, which will decide the share of the remaining 46 proportional representation seats.

Seoul accounts for 48 of the 300 seats up for grabs. The Democratic Party took 41 in the 2020 parliamentary elections.

The polls will close at 18:00 local time (09:00 GMT).

Source: BBC

BDST: 0934 HRS, APR 10, 2024

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