South Korea’s ruling, left-wing Democratic Party (DP) suffered a “crushing” defeat on Wednesday in two mayoral by-elections viewed by political observers as a bellwether for the country’s presidential election next year.
“Oh Se-hoon of the main [right-wing] opposition People Power Party (PPP) defeated his rival from the DP, Park Young-sun, 57.5 percent to 39 percent to claim the Seoul mayoral seat,” according to a final vote tally released by South Korea’s National Election Commission on April 8. “The mayoral seat in Busan, the country’s second-largest city, also went to the PPP, with Park Heong-joon beating DP rival Kim Young-choon 63 percent to 34 percent.”
“The PPP also swept 13 of 19 other local posts up for grabs in the elections,” South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported.
Seoul is home to 10 million people, nearly one-fifth of South Korea’s total population of 52 million, meaning the city’s mayoral