Exit polls show win for conservatives in South Korea

April 9th, 2008 - 6:01 pm ICT by admin  

Seoul, April 9 (DPA) The conservative Grand National Party (GNP) unseated the liberal United Democratic Party (UDP) as the South Korean National Assembly’s largest faction in the general elections Wednesday, exit polls indicated. President Lee Myung Bak’s GNP was expected to take 155 to 178 seats in the 299-member legislature, according to an exit poll by the KBS television network.

The UDP was forecast to take 75 to 93 mandates in the poll.

The projected win for the GNP followed on the heels of its victory in the presidential election in December, ending 10 years of UDP domination of the East Asian country.

In another forecast, voter turnout was expected to hit a record low as about half the 37.8 million eligible voters were predicted to cast ballots. Political apathy and disgruntlement were blamed.

Voter turnout also achieved an all-time low for a presidential election four months ago when 62.9 percent of voters took part.

To encourage people to turn out at polling stations, voters were given vouchers for reduced entry prices at museums and other public institutions.

Predictions that the GNP might be able to achieve a two-thirds majority in the Assembly faded after an internal squabble over candidate nominations tarnished the party’s image, but it was still expected to achieve a majority.

The first official election results were expected late Wednesday.

The GNP had called on voters to elect a “stable” government while the UDP said they should keep the government in check.

Recent tensions with North Korea were expected to have little impact on the election.

Pyongyang has recently threatened to cut off dialogue with Seoul after the new government in South Korea adopted a tougher stance with its communist neighbour.

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