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South Korea PM Han Duck-soo offers to resign after ruling party's election defeat

Of the 300 seats, 254 will be elected through direct votes in local districts, and the other 46 to the parties according to their proportion of the vote. The final voter turnout for South Korea’s 44 million eligible voters was tentatively estimated at 67 per cent.

Edited By: Raju Kumar @rajudelhi123 Seoul Updated on: April 11, 2024 8:09 IST
South Korea PM Han Duck-soo
Image Source : REUTERS South Korea PM Han Duck-soo

South Korea's Prime Minister Han Duck-soo and other senior aides offered their resignation to President Yoon Suk Yeol on Thursday, said news agency Reuters citing the Yonhap news agency.

The development comes after the ruling party's heavy defeat in parliamentary elections.

Liberal opposition parties in South Korea appeared set to win a landslide victory in Wednesday’s parliamentary election, vote counts showed, a result that could make conservative President Yoon Suk Yeol a lame duck for his remaining three years in office.

The votes count showed the main opposition Democratic Party and its satellite party appear to have won a combined 175 seats in the 300-member National Assembly. Another small liberal opposition party was expected to win 12 seats under a proportional representation system, according to South Korean media tallies.

Yoon’s ruling People Power Party and its satellite party were projected to have obtained 109 seats. The final official results were expected later Thursday. But the outcome means the liberal opposition forces would extend their control of the parliament, though they will likely fail to garner the super majority of 200 seats that gives them legislative powers to pass bills vetoed by a president and even impeach him or her.

Wednesday’s election was widely seen as a mid-term confidence vote on Yoon, a former top prosecutor who took office in 2022 for a single five-year term.

He has pushed hard to boost cooperation with the U.S. and Japan as a way to address a mix of tough security and economic challenges. But Yoon has been grappling with low approval ratings at home and a liberal opposition-controlled parliament that has limited his major policy platforms.

Regardless of the results, Yoon will stay in power and his major foreign policies will likely be unchanged. But the ruling party’s big election defeat could set back Yoon’s domestic agenda and leave him facing an intensifying political offensive by his liberal opponents.

Exit polls sponsored by South Korea’s major TV stations earlier predicted a bigger win by the opposition parties.

“We did our best to do politics that follow public sentiments, but results of exit polls are disappointing,” ruling party Han Dong-hoon said in televised comments. “We’ll watch ballot counting to the end.”

After gathering to watch TV broadcasts showing results of the exit polls, Democratic Party members cheered and clapped their hands. “We’ll humbly watch the people’s choices to the end. Thanks much!” party leader Lee Jae-myung told reporters.

Ahead of the election, the conservatives and their liberal rivals exchanged toxic rhetoric and mudslinging. Their mutual contempt deepened during the 2022 presidential election, during which Yoon and Lee, then the Democratic Party candidate, spent months demonizing each other. Yoon eventually beat Lee in the country’s most closely fought presidential contest.

(With agencies inputs)


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