South Korea by-elections cast doubt on outreach to Pyongyang

Heavy losses for the ruling party in mayoral races set the stage for an unpredictable presidential election and uncertainty in the country’s foreign policy direction.

Voters at a polling station in Seoul, on April 7, 2021.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SEOUL (FINANCIAL TIMES) - The future of South Korea's pursuit of rapprochement with its nuclear-armed neighbour has been thrown into doubt after the ruling party suffered a stunning defeat in mayoral by-elections in the country's two biggest cities.

Voters in the capital Seoul and the southern port city of Busan handed comfortable victories on Wednesday to candidates from the opposition conservative People Power Party, dealing a blow to Mr Moon Jae-in's progressive Democratic Party ahead of the presidential election next year.

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