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Ruling Democratic Party of Korea claims overwhelming victory in local elections Updated: 2018-06-14 13:04:37 KST

This year's local elections were a massive win for the ruling Democratic Party of Korea and an unmitigated disaster for the main opposition Liberty Korea Party.
Out of 17 posts for mayor and governor, the ruling party claimed victory in 14.
What's especially significant about these positions is that they are seen as a springboard to key national leadership positions in the future.
The party dominated the heavily populated areas of Seoul and its neighboring Gyeonggi-do Province.
Likewise they took seats in the central districts, including Daejeon, on top of the usual liberal strongholds, such as Jeolla-do Province.
And even in conservative strongholds -- with the exception of two regions, Ulsan, Busan and Gyeongsangnam-do Province were taken by the ruling party.
On Jeju Island, an independent candidate was elected.

With that, the ruling party has been given an important boost, having added five governor and mayoral seats to the nine it had already.

"Our win is a victory for the people. We should repay voters who cast their ballots for us. We will do our best as the ruling party, take a more humble approach and thoroughly deal with pending issues."

Pundits have pointed to the positive developments in regards to North Korea, saying the uptick in South-North relations. and President Moon Jae-in's high approval ratings were favorable factors for the ruling party in this year's local elections.
And the fact the elections were largely overshadowed by the North Korea-U.S. summit,.. fresh allegations regarding the candidates themselves, or even ongoing issues such as an online opinion rigging scandal or even the faltering economy, were pushed out of the spotlight.

At the other end of the spectrum, the main opposition party wasn't able to position itself as a strong alternative.
It still hasn't been able to completely sever its ties to impeached former president Park Geun-hye, and it's been more or less critical of everything the government has been doing -- with voters unable to regain much trust in the party.

"It's the first time we've experienced such a devastating loss. We humbly accept the results."

There's no doubt the results give the ruling party a massive boost in that it will be easier to get President Moon's policy agendas rolling, but some experts also say it's important to keep a balance between the progressive and conservative blocs, in order to keep the ruling party in check.
They also point out that the results don't necessarily mean the people are happy with everything the ruling party is doing.


The Moon Jae-in administration just took the administration for one year. It's too soon to make any validations or judgements. Even if they won the election by a big margin, the ruling party will have to think about whether their victory is what they've done right despite many factors that worried people."

The general consensus is that the ruling party will have to work extra hard before the next elections to compensate the voters that supported them while at the same time, the main opposition party needs to reflect on its current shortcomings and use the pain of defeat as an opportunity to overhaul its still-tainted image. Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.
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