The ruling People Power Party (PPP) achieved a landslide victory in the June 1 local elections, as its candidates defeated their opponents in most regions.
The PPP won 12 out of 17 key races for big city mayors and provincial governors, including Seoul, while the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) won five key races, including three in its stronghold of the Jeolla provinces.
The PPP garnered a victory in the mayoral elections of Seoul, Incheon, Daejeon, Sejong, Daegu, Ulsan and Busan, and its candidates also turned out victorious for the provincial elections of Gangwon, North Chungcheong, South Chungcheong, North Gyeongsang and South Gyeongsang provinces.
Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon of the PPP won 59.05 percent in votes to surpass Song Young-gil of the DP by 19.82 percentage points. Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon with the ruling party won over his Democratic Party rival Byun Seong-wan by 34.13 percentage points in votes.
However, the ruling party failed to win the race for Gyeonggi governor that has been considered the biggest battleground in the local elections. The DP candidate, Kim Dong-yeon, came from behind at the last minute to beat his PPP rival, Kim Eun-hye, by 0.15 percentage point.
The main opposition DP won the mayorship of Gwangju and the governorships of the Jeolla provinces, Jeju and Gyeonggi Province.
Related to this, President Yoon Suk-yeol said in a statement issued after the election results were finalized, "I take the election results as the people's call to revive the economy and take better care of their livelihoods."
Yoon added, "For this, I will tide over the difficulties hand in hand with local governments. The government will put all of its energy into stabilizing the public's livelihoods with the attitude that the first, second and third is the economy."
Meanwhile, PPP Chairman Lee Jun-seok said, "The party will move forward for the success of the Yoon Suk-yeol government with a sense of infinite responsibility.”
Park Ji-hyun, an interim chief of the DP, wrote on her Facebook page that the party perfectly lost the local elections and humbly accepts the second punishment after the Presidential election.
The DP's former presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung was elected to the National Assembly representing Incheon's Gyeyang-B district. Lee was also the chief of the DP's campaign for local elections.
In another by-election, Ahn Cheol-soo of the PPP, who withdrew from the presidential race to endorse Yoon, secured the seat representing the Bundang-A district of Seongnam, just south of Seoul, after beating Kim Byoung-gwan of the DP.
The National Election Commission announced the tentative voter turnout for the Wednesday elections at 50.9 percent, 9.3 percentage points lower than 60.2 percent turnout reached in the previous 2018 local elections.
The latest figure is the second-lowest voter turnout recorded in South Korea’s local elections history.
South Jeolla Province recorded the highest turnout of 58.5 percent among 17 metropolitan cities and provinces, while its neighboring city Gwangju recorded the lowest figure at 37.7 percent.