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(LEAD) S. Korea will begin 2-day early voting for local elections Friday

All Headlines 10:11 June 07, 2018

(ATTN: ADDS more info in paras 5-7, 10, 11)

SEOUL, June 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will hold two-day early voting for the June 13 local elections and parliamentary by-elections this week, the election watchdog said Thursday.

Eligible voters can cast ballots at 3,512 polling stations nationwide from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. starting Friday, according to the National Election Commission (NEC).

The local elections will determine 4,016 administrative, legislative and educational posts, including 17 metropolitan mayors and provincial governors. The by-elections will be held to fill 12 vacant seats in the National Assembly.

The advance voting system was introduced for the by-elections in April 2013.

Three out of 10 voters said that they would cast their ballots during the early voting period, according to a survey conducted by Realmeter.

It said that 28.1 percent of those surveyed expressed a willingness to participate in early voting, while 36.4 percent said that they would vote on election day. It showed that 33.5 percent had not decided when to vote.

Higher turnout in the advance voting usually heralds a higher overall voting rate.

Early voting turnout has been on the rise from 11.5 percent for the 2014 local elections to 12.2 percent for the 2016 parliamentary elections and to 26.1 percent in the 2017 presidential election.

The publication of new opinion polls is banned for the campaign as of Thursday.

Recent polls showed that the ruling Democratic Party (DP) has a sizable lead in both the local elections and parliamentary by-elections.

The Realmeter poll showed the approval rating for the DP reached 52 percent this week, followed by the main opposition Liberty Korea Party with 18.5 percent.

This photo, taken June 6, 2018, shows an early voting polling center for the June 13 local elections and parliamentary by-elections that was installed at Seoul Station, a transport hub in central Seoul. (Yonhap)

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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