South Korean opposition wins parliamentary vote in landslide

South Korean opposition wins parliamentary vote in landslide


  • By Christy Cooney & Jean Mackenzie
  • In London and Seoul

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Lee Jae-myung, leader of the Democratic Party (R) has declared the win a ‘victory for the people’

South Korea’s liberal opposition party has won a landslide majority in the country’s general election to retain control of parliament.

The Democratic Party (DPK) and smaller opposition parties jointly won 192 of 300 seats in the National Assembly.

The vote is widely seen as a midterm referendum on President Yoon Suk Yeol, who has three years left in office.

His party leader Han Dong-hoon has resigned and Prime Minister Han Duk-soo has offered to resign.

This is a crushing defeat for Mr Yoon and his People Power Party (PPP), which has been struggling to achieve its agenda in a legislature dominated by the DPK. The DPK’s win means they will be able to fast-track and push legislation through parliament.

Both the DPK and PPP use breakaway satellite parties to maximise their vote under South Korea’s electoral system, which assigns some seats to smaller parties whose seat counts fall short of their overall support.

“This isn’t the Democratic Party’s victory but a great victory for the people,” said DPK leader Lee Jae-myung on Thursday.

“Politicians on both sides of the aisle must pool our strength to deal with the current economic crisis. The Democratic Party will lead the way in solving the livelihood crisis,” he told reporters.

Today’s result could embolden Mr Lee, who narrowly lost the 2022 presidential election to Mr Yoon, to make another presidential run.

Mr Yoon is under pressure to address a number of issues including rising food prices, a rapidly aging population and an ongoing doctor’s strike.

In recent weeks, he has been criticised for appearing to be out of touch with the impact of inflation on voters.

Just last month, he was criticised for commenting during a visit to a Seoul supermarket that a bundle of green onions priced at 875 won (£0.51; $0.65) was “reasonable”.

The item had been priced at discount because of subsidies and would normally have cost between 3,000 and 4,000 won.

The comment sparked a backlash, with bundles of green onions later being used as props at farmers’ protests and DPK election rallies.

Mr Yoon’s wife, Kim Keon Hee, has also been embroiled in a controversy for allegedly accepting a luxury bag as a gift, while separate corruption and abuse of power allegations have been levelled at senior members of his party.

The DPK has also been beleaguered by its own political controversies and internal struggles, and has faced corruption allegations.


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