South Korea

By election losses may trigger reshuffle


The ruling Grand National Party (GNP) lost ground yesterday (Wednesday 27th April) in by elections taking place across South Korea. Traditionally by-elections are held twice a year, in April and October for any vacancies in national and local government that have occurred in the preceding period.

The greatest loss was the Bundang by-election in which senior opposition Democratic Party (DP) figure Sohn Hak-kyu won in a traditionally safe GNP seat.

There were two other National Assembly by-elections in Suncheon and Gimhae. In the Gimhae seat former prime ministerial nominee Kim Tae-ho (GNP) made a political comeback after he was forced to resign last year over a scandal.

The other major setback for the government was for provincial governor in the Gangwon province where Choi Moon-soon of the DP defeated the GNP candidate who had been expected to win.

The results of the wider elections, where the GNP lost a number of other minor seats suggests that the middle classes are revolting against the government. This is almost certain to trigger a cabinet reshuffle in the hope that this will bring in fresh blood to a government that is looking tired.

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