Mayoral By-Elections Draw Respectable Turnout

  • By Hong Young-lim

    April 08, 2021 12:29

    Voter turnout in Wednesday's mayoral by-elections reached a respectable 56.8 percent, according to the National Election Commission. This is the first time that a by-election to choose a mayor, governor or lawmaker has exceeded 50 percent turnout.

    Turnout in Seoul was 58.2 percent and in Busan 52.7 percent. That was lower than during the 2020 general election (66.2 percent) and 2018 local election (60.2 percent), but similar to the 2016 general election (58 percent). But it was unusually high for a weekday by-election.

    In Seoul, voters were especially keen to make their voice heard in the three affluent Gangnam districts -- Seocho (64 percent), Gangnam-gu (61.1 percent) and Songpa (61 percent), which are traditional conservative strongholds. It was lowest in the Minjoo Party strongholds of Geumcheon (52.2 percent), Jungnang (53.9 percent), Gwanak (53.9 percent), Gangbuk (54.4 percent) and Gangseo (56.4 percent).

    In Busan, turnout was particularly high in the central districts.

    Election staff sort ballot papers at a vote-counting station in Seoul on Wednesday. /Yonhap

    Exit polls showed a majority of age groups in Seoul rallying behind main opposition People Power Party's candidate Oh Se-hoon. Voters in their 40s were the only group who backed MP candidate Park Young-sun, but by a small margin of 49.3 percent vs. 48.3 percent.

    Among men in their 20s, a staggering 72.5 percent cast their ballots for Oh, while only 22.2 percent supported Park.

    In Busan, the findings were similar, with all age groups except those in their 40s backing the PPP's Park Hyung-joon. More than half of 40-somethings in the southern port city supported the MP's Kim Young-choon.

    Voter preference has changed dramatically. In the last general election, the ruling MP won the majority support in almost all age groups.

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