South Korea President Moon Jae-in and the ruling Democratic Party might meet its largest letdown for half a decade through Wednesday’s mayoral by-election in Seoul and Busan, creating a challenge to the liberal alliance facing the presidential elections 11 months away.
According to polls, conservative candidates are going ahead of its rivals in the two of the large cities, as the public are dismayed by the skyrocketing real estate prices under the present administration.
Election precincts are open in both Seoul and Busan from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The two cities contribute nearly a quarter of the country’s population, and facing a defeat on the top positions in these areas could stop the president’s push to boost public employment and expand financial expenses.
Losing these elections could caution the ruling party to mend their policies if it aims for the president to remain in his position until his term ends next year.
Some 50.5 percent of the respondents in Seoul chose conservative party’s candidate Oh Se-hoon. Meanwhile Democratic’s bet Park Young-sun only got 28.2 percent support, according to last week’s result published by the Korea Research International, IPSOS and Hankook Research.
The People Power Party (PPP) also enjoys the same support in Busan with its candidate Park Hyung-jun leading against Kim Young-choon of the democratic bloc, based on the result conducted separately by three poll bodies.
Supported by the PPP, Oh slammed the present administration for implementing strict regulations on improvement and constraining the quantity of building permits. The candidate said that Moon’s government is harvesting the results of its try to dominate in profit by private constructors.
“If the PPP wins, Moon possibly becomes a lame duck and swing voters may further jump on the bandwagon of the People Power Party over the next few months,” said a political science professor at Myongji University in Seoul, Shin Yul.
When Moon was elected in 2017, he made a promise to make housing inexpensive.
Contrary to his pledge, apartment prices in the capital city have increased two folds in the last five years, making it too expensive for most of the populations as the country’s salaries only had a less than 20 percent increase.
The issues on housing caused the president’s rate to dip, which was affected further by the scandal of the state’s land corporation, with employees allegedly using confidential data to gain profit from areas identified for huge development projects in Seoul.
About a year ago, the administration enjoyed the absolute majority in the parliamentary elections, largely due to its commendable pandemic response.
It also gathered several wins since former President Park Geun-hye was impeached in 2016.
The by-elections were conducted to determine the replacements of mayors in the two cities who were criticized for sexual harassment allegations.