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S Korea president's party wins vote, green light for economic reforms

Published on Jul 31, 2014 12:13 AM

SEOUL - South Korean voters in 15 districts gave President Park Geun Hye's ruling party an enhanced parliamentary majority in by-elections on Wednesday, and the political momentum to drive an economic stimulus programme and regulatory reforms.

Ms Park has made the economy a priority in the second year of her five-year term and recently appointed a finance minister with a brief to stimulate consumption and ease restrictions on the sagging property market in Asia's fourth largest economy.

The government came under fierce criticism for what was seen as an inadequate and slow response to the sinking of a ferry in April that killed 304 people, mostly children on a class trip. It was the country's worst maritime disaster in 44 years.

But Ms Park's Saenuri Party candidates won in 11 of the 15 constituencies up for grabs, according to the National Election Commission, boosting the conservative representation in the unicameral 300-seat assembly to 158. The party previously held 147 of 285 seats.

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