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Early voting begins for parliamentary election

All Headlines 10:36 April 08, 2016

SEOUL, April 8 (Yonhap) -- Early voting for next week's parliamentary elections kicked off Friday for a two-day run, with scores of candidates casting their ballots in a bid to raise the voter turnout.

The voting carries extra weight as a recent survey showed that more than a quarter of the electorate has yet to choose a candidate for the April 13 polls that are to elect 300 lawmakers for a four-year term.

The early voting began at 3,511 polling stations across the country. Voting will take place between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday.

Won Yoo-cheol, floor leader of the ruling Saenuri Party, visited a polling station in his electorate of Pyongtaek, 70 km south of Seoul, early on Friday.

A number of the party's proportional candidates also visited a polling station in Yeouido, western Seoul, to draw more voters to the polls.

Chairman Kim Moo-sung, meanwhile, is scheduled to vote on election day in his electorate in the southern port city of Busan.

Several former Saenuri lawmakers, including Yoo Seong-min, participated in early voting as well, with Yoo voting in his electorate in Daegu.

Yoo, a former floor leader, defected from Saenuri and is running as an independent candidate after failing to get a party ticket.

Seol Hyun of girl group AOA, who was named an honorary ambassador for this year's general elections, is also scheduled to visit a polling station in southern Seoul.

The early voting system, first adopted during the 2013 by-elections, is different from absentee voting in that it does not require voters to sign up in advance.

Eligible voters, who may be busy or away on election day which falls on Wednesday, can simply show up at a polling station during the early voting period and cast their ballots.

The ballots will be kept by the country's election watchdog until the vote-counting officially begins after the April 13 polls.

On Friday, police vowed to intensively crack down on illegal electioneering as the critical elections near.

"Cases related to elections, which involve conflicting interests, require prompt reaction," said Kang Sin-myeong, Commissioner General of the National Police Agency, during a video conference held among high-ranking police officials.

"Especially, false propaganda conducted behind the scenes via the Internet and mobile devices should be thoroughly hunted down."

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