General election today
A general election is underway today in South Korea for the 300 seat National Assembly. Around 38.9 million voters will vote at 13,470 polling stations for 927 candidates between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. local time. Of the 300 seats, 246 are directly elected and 54 are chosen through a proportional system. Each voter has two votes, one for a party and one for a candidate.
The New Frontier Party (NFP – Saenuri Party), formerly the Grand National Party (GNP) is putting up 230 candidates. In the 2008 election they won 153 seats, but go into the election with 176 seats.
The Democratic United Party (DUP), a new coalition of the United Democratic Party (UDP) and Citizens Unity Party (CUP), won 81 seats in 2008 and go into this election with 89 seats. They are putting up 210 candidates in the 246 directly elected seats.
There are fifteen other parties standing but no other parties are putting up anything near a full slate of candidates. The real battle is between the centre-right pro-business Saenuri party of Park Geun-hye and the centre left anti big business interests Democratic United Party of Han Myeong-sook. Both parties appeared to be neck and neck in the opinion polls going into the final two days of the campaign.
By lunchtime turnout appeared to be up on 2008 with the National Election Commission expecting turnout to be around 60%. The higher the turnout the more it is expected to favour the opposition left of centre parties.