S Koreans Go to Polls in Parliamentary Election

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Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 5:30 AM

If the vote allows the ruling Saenuri Party to comfortably regain its majority over a divided opposition, as pollsters predict, it raises expectations the party will get the presidency in two thousand-seventeenth, after Park'south single duration expires.

S Koreans on Wednesday voted in a parliamentary election that many predict will hand President Park Geun-hye'south conservative party a decisive win, despite frustrations over a sluggish economy.

If the vote allows the ruling Saenuri Party to comfortably regain its majority over a divided opposition, as pollsters predict, it raises expectations the party will get the presidency in two thousand-seventeenth, after Park'south single term expires.

Criticism of Park'south economic policies has taken a back seat to national security issues following N Korea'south recent nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.

Hostility between the rival Koreas in election years has frequently been seen as helping the conservatives by allowing them to highlight their hard-line approach against the North. Liberals have traditionally backed rapprochement policies with the North.

Executive from the main opposition Minjoo Party have expressed worry that Saenuri could attain something near to a two-thirds supermajority of the three hundred seats in the new National Assembly.

Official figures indicate household debt is at new highs and the unemployment rate for people under thirty is approaching levels not seen since the late one thousand nine hundred ninety, when millions lost their jobs during a crippling financial crisis.

In a survey of 1.000 adults unveiled latest week by Gallup Korea, the percentage of respondents saying Park was doing a excellent work as president rose by five percentage points from the previous week to forty-three percent.

The survey showed that Park'south supporters highly rated her diplomatic policies and stern measures against the North, including economic sanctions and the shutdown of a factory park in the N that'd been jointly running by the rivals.

Since losing its second consecutive presidential election in two thousand-twelfth, the Minjoo Party has struggled with factional infighting and lawmaker defections, and saw its seats decline from one hundred twenty-seven to one hundred two in the current assembly.

In this year'south common election, the Minjoo has been forced to compete for mainstream liberal votes with a new party created mostly by those who left Minjoo, including its former co-chairman, Ahn Cheol-soo, who's seen as a potential candidate for the two thousand seventeen presidential election.

Ahn'south People'south Party has focused its campaigning efforts in the southwest Jeolla region, which has traditionally been the core liberal support base. Some pundits predicted that a powerful showing by the People'south Party in the region could cost Minjoo as many as twenty to thirty seats.

S Korea'south electorate is deeply divided along generational and ideological lines and also by ferocious regional loyalties. Voters in the southeast Gyeongsang regions have for decades overwhelmingly voted for conservatives in parliamentary and presidential elections.

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