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Park ditches early voting for general elections due to political controversy

All News 21:05 April 10, 2016

SEOUL, April 10 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye had mulled casting her ballot during the just-ended early voting for the April 13 parliamentary elections, but ditched it considering the unwanted political controversy, ruling party officials said Sunday.

Park had originally opted to vote on Friday, the first day of the two-day early voting period, in order to encourage more eligible voters to go to polling stations.

But she had given up doing so as her vote could have triggered unwanted backlash from opposition parties, they said.

Meanwhile, South Korea recorded its highest voter turnout of 12.2 percent during the two-day early voting period, with 5.13 million out of the 42.1 million eligible voters casting their ballots at 3,511 polling stations across the country, according to election watchdog.

It marked the highest turnout since 2013 when the early voting system was first adopted for by-elections, said the National Election Commission.

The higher-than-expected rate is anticipated to serve as a key variable in the upcoming elections, as many voters have yet to choose a candidate in their electorates.

A recent poll released by Gallup Korea showed that about a quarter of respondents were unsure of which candidate or party they will support, pointing to a large number of swing voters from both the conservative and liberal sides.

The early voting system is different from absentee voting in that it does not require voters to sign up in advance.

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


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