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Preliminary voter turnout in parliamentary elections hovers below 60 pct

All Headlines 19:27 April 13, 2016

SEOUL, April 13 (Yonhap) -- Just less than 60 percent of South Korean voters cast their ballots Wednesday to elect new lawmakers, the national election watchdog said.

More than 24.4 million out of over 42.1 million, or 58 percent, went to 13,837 polling stations across the country to elect a new 300-member National Assembly, the National Election Commission (NEC).

The preliminary voter turnout is higher than the previous general elections in 2012 when 54.2 percent was recorded, the NEC said. However, it is below 63.9 percent recorded in 1996.

The election watchdog said the official voter turnout will be available after vote-counting wraps up early Thursday.

Election officials attributed the higher-than-expected voter turnout to the highest voter turnout of an early voting that took place last week.

During the two-day early voting period from Friday to Saturday, 5.13 million voters, or 12.2 percent, cast their ballots at more than 3,000 polling stations.

"People's attention to politics was very high during the 19th general elections four years ago as it took place just before the presidential election," said an NEC official on the condition of customary anonymity, attributing to the effect of the early voting.

The early voting system is different from absentee voting in that it does not require voters to sign up in advance. Eligible voters can simply show up at a polling station during the pre-voting period and cast their ballots.

By region, South Jeolla Province saw the highest preliminary voter turnout of 63.7 percent, followed by the administrative city of Sejong, with 63.5 percent.

khj@yna.co.kr
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