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(LEAD) Rival parties seek to swing voters as preliminary voting begins

All News 14:42 April 07, 2016

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SEOUL, April 7 (Yonhap) -- The ruling and opposition parties stepped up their campaigns on Thursday to win over undecided voters as the preliminary voting for the April 13 polls begins later this week.

South Koreans can begin casting their ballots during the preliminary voting on Friday and Saturday at 3,511 polling stations across the country, the National Election Commission (NEC) said.

Voters are required to carry a valid form of photo identification and visit a nearby polling station between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., the NEC said.

The NEC additionally set up polling stations at public facilities, such as the country's main gateway, Incheon International Airport, and two main train stations in central Seoul.

The commission first adopted the system during the April by-elections in 2013 as part of its effort to boost voter turnout.

Preliminary voting, meanwhile, has gained more importance as a recent survey showed that more than a quarter of the electorate have yet to choose a candidate for the parliamentary elections.

The poll released by Gallup Korea showed that between 24 and 27 percent of respondents said they were unsure which candidate or party they will support.

Experts and pundits say that the preliminary voting has become a more important factor due to the relatively large number of swing voters from both conservative and liberal sides.

"Recent factional infighting in the Saenuri Party over nominating party candidates adversely affected voter sentiment," said Yoon Hee-wong, a political analyst as Opinion Live, a local consulting agency.

Yoon added that many liberal voters are also undecided due to the recent feud within the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea, which led to the creation of the splinter People's Party.


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