Voter turnout beats estimates
The voter turnout of 54.3 percent for Wednesday’s National Assembly elections was higher than the previous parliamentary polls in 2008.
An estimated 21.81 million people cast votes, according to the National Election Commission, the country’s election watchdog, higher than the 46.1 percent seen in the last elections.
By region, Sejong, a newly designated electoral district, marked the highest turnout at 59.2 percent; with Incheon the lowest at 51.4 percent.
Seoul registered 55.5 percent.
Polls opened at 6 a.m. and closed at 6 p.m.
The number of eligible voters totals 40.2 million, or 80 percent of 50 million Koreans, and they could cast their ballots at 13,470 polling stations nationwide.
Voter turnout is a key element in gauging the outcome of elections as a higher number means more young voters, who tend to support liberal candidates, participate. Older voters are largely supportive of conservative candidates and have had a higher turnout rate compared to people in their 20s and 30s in the past.
In last year’s Seoul mayoral by-election, Park Won-soon, a civic activist-turned politician, beat the ruling party’s high-profile candidate Na Kyung-won by more than seven percentage points, largely backed by younger voters.
The parliamentary ballot will decide 246 local district and 54 proportional representation seats for the 19th National Assembly. The latter will be allocated to parties according to the total number of votes they receive. Each casts two ballots, one for a candidate and the other for a party.