S Korean conservatives seen regaining keep of gathering in election

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 6:36 PM

A divided opposition, riven by infighting that led to a split in the main left-leaning party four months ago, has left many voters, particularly younger ones facing record-high youth unemployment, disenchanted.

S Korea'south ruling conservative Saenuri Party is expected to regain its parliamentary majority in elections following week despite a sluggish economy and gridlock that made the latest legislative duration one of the minimum productive ever.

A divided opposition, riven by infighting that led to a split in the main left-leaning party four months ago, has left many voters, particularly younger ones facing record-high youth unemployment, disenchanted.

Expected low turnout on April thirteen is likely to work to the advantage of President Park Geun-hye'south Saenuri Party, which holds half of the two hundred ninety-two seats in the National Assembly. Before recent defections, it held a majority with one hundred fifty-seven seats.

A powerful showing by Saenuri would lift expectations that it'll field the winning candidate in a December two thousand seventeen presidential election to discover a successor to Park at the finish of her single-term five-year term.

Saenuri enjoys powerful support among older voters and it's sought to cement that by emphasizing its tough position on N Korea following a spike in tension on the peninsula triggered by the North'south fourth nuclear test in Jan and a space rocket launch a month later.

The party has been doing well in opinion polls with thirty-seven % support, according to a Gallup Korea survey of one.000 people released on April 1, compared with twenty-one % for the main opposition Minjoo Party.

S Korea'south economy grew 2.6 % latest year and youth unemployment reached 12.5 % in February, the highest since the government started keeping records in one thousand nine hundred ninety-ninth, compared with single-digit joblessness in other age groups. [nL3N16N5UU]

The opposition is seen as unlikely to mount a serious challenge at the ballot box if disillusioned voters stay away.

"The Saenuri party has its solid support," said Bok Geum-hee of the non-partisan Powerhouse of Future Korea, which campaigns for youthful people to vote.

"Moderate people might've arrive out to vote ... but they think the main opposition is number different from the Saenuri party."

'INEFFECTIVE'

The country'south youngest lawmaker, Kim Kwang-jin, thirty-four, of the Minjoo party, acknowledged that the opposition had failed to keep up a boss with a compelling message to win over youthful voters, in contrast to someone love U. S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

"A lot of youthful people in their twenty and thirty are behind him, supporting his ideas and ideology ... We necessity someone attractive," Kim told Reuters.

Park has accused both sides in parliament for hamstringing her thrust to boost growth, create jobs, and obtain on with structural reforms she says are needed to fix chronic problems in Asia'south fourth largest economy.

During its four years, the outgoing parliament has been the most ineffective and slowest in passing legislation, according to the Korea Economic Research Institute think-tank, spending an average of five hundred seventeen days to pass a law.

Just forty % of proposed bills were adopted, it said.

Voter frustration could look turnout lower than the previous record low of forty-six percent, analysts say.

"Politicians can't lay out realistic or specific plans and people are disappointed with that and have decided not to vote," said Bae Hyun-joong, a 21-year elderly Seoul college student.

Parliamentary elections are held every four years in South Korea.

(Editing by Tony Munroe, Robert Birsel)

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