Opposition expected to win Seoul while S. Korea ruling party takes Daegu

SEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Early results of South Korea's local elections indicated that the main opposition would score a resounding win in capital city Seoul as well as the South Chuncheong and Jeolla provinces, while the ruling party led by President Park Geun Hye scored in Jeju, Daegu and Gyeongsang provinces.

About 23 million people, or 56.8 per cent of the electorate, went to polls on Wednesday to elect 3,952 local and regional officials. There were 17 main races for metropolitan mayors and provincial governors.

The exit polls, conducted by the country's three terrestrial broadcasters, showed that Mr Park Won Soon from the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) would beat Mr Chung Mong Joon from the ruling Saenuri Party for Seoul mayorship by nearly 10 percentage points.

As of 11pm (10 pm Singapore time) on Wednesday, Mr Park, who has been Seoul mayor since November 2011, had garnered nearly 58 per cent of the counted ballots.

The NPAD was also seen as having the advantage in other regions including Sejong City, Gwangju, South Chuncheong province and Jeolla provinces.

As for Saenuri Party, the exit figures placed their candidates in comfortable leads in Daegu, Ulsan, the Gyeongsang provinces and Jeju island.

Former conservative leader Hong Joon Pyo was projected to take South Gyeongsang Province governor's post in a landslide victory, while Mr Kim Kwan Yong and Mr Won Hee Ryong were expected to win North Gyeongsang province and Jeju, respectively.

The exit polls also showed that the race in Incheon was the closest with Saenuri's Yoo Jeong bok leading NPAD's Song Young Gil by a mere 0.3 percentage points.