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Turnout among overseas voters hovers above 40 pct

All Headlines 18:00 April 05, 2016

SEOUL, April 5 (Yonhap) -- More than 40 percent of South Korean voters living overseas have cast their ballots for the next week's parliamentary elections, the national election watchdog said Tuesday.

The National Election Commission (NEC) said 63,797 out of 154,217 registered overseas Koreans participated in the six-day poll that took place at 198 polling stations in 113 countries worldwide, resulting in a turnout of 41.4 percent.

With some 1,980,000 eligible voters living abroad, the actual rate came in at around 3.2 percent, according to the NEC.

The commission said that the turnout rate was higher than the previous parliamentary election held in 2012 thanks to the number of increased polling stations and an easier registration process.

The highest voter turnout by regional groups was posted in African countries at 69.3 percent. The Middle East followed at 66.3 percent with Europe at 60.2 percent, according to the commission. In the Americas and Asia, the rate stood at 39 percent and 37 percent, respectively.

South Koreans living in Asia took up nearly half of the total number of overseas voters at 29,422 people, while 20,395 people voted in the Americas, 9,479 in Europe, 2,841 in the Middle East, and 1,642 in Africa.

The overseas ballots will be sent back to South Korea by Saturday and will be kept by the NEC until the vote-counting officially begins after the April 13 polls.

Overseas South Koreans became eligible to participate in domestic parliamentary and presidential elections after related legislation was passed by the National Assembly in 2009.

The April 13 polls are to elect 300 lawmakers for a four-year term, with the poll expected to take on greater significance as it will help gauge public sentiment ahead of the presidential elections slated for December 2017.

khj@yna.co.kr
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