South Korea

Saenuri win 11 of 15 seats in parliamentary by-elections


President Park Geun-hye’s ruling Saenuri Party won 11 of 15 by-elections in crucial elections which took place yesterday.

The by-elections occurred because of invalidation of the election of a candidate in four cases and resignations in eleven cases, most being where the incumbents had stood for positions in key mayoral and gubernatorial elections in June.

The results are a major boost to the President despite her fall in popularity from 63% to 45% in the last few months. The results give the President’s party 158 of 300 seats in the National Assembly with the party winning the South Jeolla province seat in an opposition stronghold along with several other wins. In the 2012 general election the party had won 152 seats, a much narrower majority which had prevented the President from carrying out a number of reforms. The slightly larger majority should give her some room to introduce more economic and regulatory reforms.

Voter turnout in the 15 by-elections was just 32.9%.

Kim Han-gil and Ahn Cheol-soo, the two leaders of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) tendered their resignations earlier today following the announcement of the results.

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