Voters head to 13,665 polling stations across the nation on Wednesday to cast their ballot in elections to choose mayors, provincial governors and superintendents of education. The winners should become evident at around 11 p.m.
Opinion polls show a close and unpredictable race as supporters slowly rallied behind their respective candidates. In the case of mayoral elections, the ruling Saenuri Party is doing well in only four regions -- Ulsan, North and South Gyeongsang provinces and Jeju-- and the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy is ahead in Seoul and North and South Jeolla provinces.
But candidates are neck and neck in Incheon, Gyeonggi Province, Gangwon Province, as well as Daejeon and the rest of the Chungcheong region.
Ruling and opposition candidates also face tough competition from independent candidates in their traditional strongholds of Busan, Daegu and Gwangju.
Tight races are expected in 10 out of 17 constituencies for mayor. Candidates took to the streets to rally voters in those regions on the eve of elections Tuesday.