The new mayors of Seoul and Busan have been decided.
The main opposition People Power Party swept to victories in both cities in Wednesday's by-elections.
In Seoul, Oh Se-hoon of the PPP garnered 57.5 percent of the vote,.. easily beating the ruling DP's candidate, Park Young-sun, who could only muster 39.2 percent.
Oh, a former Seoul mayor, delivered his victory speech,shortly after the exit poll results came out, and some 10 years after he resigned from the position,…over the then-controversial free school meal plan.
"The citizens of this city have tasked me with swiftly tackling urgent issues and to provide comfort to so many people suffering at this time."
In an earlier interview, the former minister of SMEs and Start-ups, Park Young-sun, virtually accepted she was going to lose.
"I accept whatever the results may be. I humbly take the punishment that Seoul citizens gave me to teach me a lesson."
In Busan,…the PPP's Park Heong-joon defeated his rival Kim Young-choon of the DP,in an even bigger landslide than that of Oh and Park at 62.7 percent to 34.4 percent.
Kim accepted defeat ahead of the final results,which was followed by Park celebrating his victory.
The new mayors will serve until June 2022.
The April 7th by-elections, which come just before the final year of the Moon Jae-in administration,were largely seen as a litmus test of how the public feels about the government,…and could provide pointers for where next year's presidential race is headed.
The high level of public attention was reflected in voter turnout.
Some 58.2 percent of eligible voters in Seoul cast ballots,…the third highest in the city's local election history.
Turnout in Busan was 52.7 percent.
Overall early voter turnout also hit a record high of 20.5 percent last week.
Lee Kyung-eun, Arirang News.