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GNP Dominates in Election Landslide

Posted June. 01, 2006 07:45,   


The May 31 local elections that were held simultaneously nationwide turned into a landslide victory for the Grand National Party (GNP) and a crushing defeat for the ruling Uri Party.

As of 10:00 p.m. yesterday, the GNP swept 11 mayoral and gubernatorial posts including three metropolitan areas, Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province, among 16 posts. The party is leading in 134 low-level administrative units out of 230 nationwide, and in more than 60 out of 66 metropolitan areas.

In contrast, the ruling Uri Party won only one gubernatorial race in North Jeolla Province. It lost all of the low-level administrative races in the metropolitan areas. The GNP received 50 to 60 percent of votes in most metropolitan mayoral and gubernatorial races, while the Uri Party showed poor performances of around 20 percent overall.

The Uri Party even lost in Gwangju and South Jeolla Province, the party’s stronghold. The election outcome is the evidence that public sentiment is not leaning toward the ruling party nationwide, including the metropolitan area.

It is unprecedented that the ruling party lost these elections, which will likely drive the party into internal discord over the defeat. It may overhaul its political strategy with political realignment gaining power, including integrations within the Democratic Party and solidarity with former Prime Minister Goh Kun.

Chairman of the Uri Party Chung Dong-young saw the results of exit polls at 6:00 p.m. on this day and said to journalists “I will take responsibility for the election outcome.” The party leadership including Chung will announce their decision to resign en masse to assume responsibility for the defeat in a meeting with senior members on June 1.

The election outcome shows that the GNP won victory in three metropolitan areas and the southeastern part of the nation, including Busan, Daegu, Ulsan, North and South Gyeongsang Provinces. The Democratic Party won in two races in Gwangju and South Jeolla Province.

In the Daejeon mayoral race, as of 10:00 p.m., Park Seong-hyo of the GNP led Yeom Hong-cheol of the Uri Party by 3.3 percentage points. Independent Kim Tae-hwan and Hyun Myung-gwan of the GNP were neck-and-neck for the Jeju governor post.

The GNP almost won or came first in 230 low-level administrative units, and the Uri Party led in 16 units, the Democratic Party in 18 units, and the People First Party in six units. Independent candidates came in first in 22 units.

Jung-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com