Ruling Party Sweeps By-Elections Despite Scandal

      April 30, 2015 12:34

      The ruling Saenuri Party swept by-elections on Wednesday, scoring wins in the blue-collar Gwanak district of Seoul as well as western port city of Incheon and Gyeonggi Province.

      The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy was trounced by an independent candidate in its traditional stronghold of Gwangju as well as Seoul.

      The by-election results came as a partial relief to embattled President Park Geun-hye after the resignation of her prime minister after just over two months in office over a bribery scandal that has engulfed several senior figures close to her.

      Independent candidate Chun Jung-bae (left) and the Saenuri Party's Oh Shin-hwan celebrate at their campaign offices after winning the by-election on Wednesday.

      NPAD chief Moon Jae-in suffered a major blow to his leadership, and the main opposition party now faces internal rifts.

      The National Election Commission said 256,232 out of 712,269 voters cast their ballots in the by-election, a turnout of a paltry 36 percent. But the results beat even more dire forecasts due to rainy weather.

      Analysts said the widening scandal over dubious property developer Sung Wan-jong spurred some interest in the by-election.

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