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(2nd LD) Exit poll shows ruling party failing to win parliamentary majority

All Headlines 19:19 April 13, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES with details of joint exit poll)

SEOUL, April 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea’s ruling Saenuri Party is slightly ahead of its main opposition rival in Wednesday's tightly contested parliamentary elections, though it may not win a parliamentary majority, an exit poll said.

An exit poll by South Korea's public broadcaster KBS predicted that the ruling Saenuri Party could win between 121-143 while the main opposition Minjoo Party could secure between 101-123 seats out of the total 300 seats up for grabs.

KBS conducted the joint exit poll with two other broadcasters MBC and SBS, though they have different predictions on the results of the elections as they use different tools.

The poll released by MBC showed the ruling party winning between 118-136 seats against the Minjoo Party's 107-128 seats.

An SBS poll forecast the ruling party winning between 123-147 seats and the Minjoo Party securing 97-120 seats.

The minor opposition People's Party is projected to win between 31-43 seats while independent candidates are expected to secure between 8-20 seats, according to the poll released by the three broadcasters.

The People's Party broke away from the New Politics Alliance for Democracy, which later changed its name to the Minjoo Party ahead of the elections in an apparent move to improve its image.

In South Korea, changing a party's name is a common vote-buying tactic, although its members rarely change.

Some ruling party candidates had been seen as front-runners in Seoul and its adjacent cities in pre-elections opinion polls, but they were trailing in the exit polls, according to the joint survey.

Meanwhile, candidates of the main opposition Minjoo Party may perform better than expected while candidates of the People's Party could prevail in the southwestern city of Gwangju, a key political stronghold of the main opposition Minjoo Party and its predecessors.

The exit poll, meanwhile, showed that the ruling party could win between 15-19 proportional representation seats while the main opposition Minjoo Party could secure between 11-14 proportional representation seats.

The National Assembly will be comprised of 253 directly contested seats and 47 proportional representation seats to be allocated to parties according to the total number of votes they receive.

Each voter was asked to cast two ballots: one for a candidate and the other for a party.
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