SEOUL, April 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea kicked off six days of overseas elections for the April parliamentary polls Wednesday, with only about half the eligible voters being allowed to cast ballots due to the new coronavirus.
The country will hold overseas voting for the April 15 general elections at polling stations from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Monday, according to the National Election Commission (NEC).
Of around 172,000 eligible voters, only 53.2 percent will be allowed to cast ballots, as the watchdog has suspended election-related affairs in 40 countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NEC has decided to halt the election-related process at 65 diplomatic missions in 40 countries, including the United States and Italy.
It plans to review the further suspension of polling affairs if more countries strengthen mobility restrictions or impose lockdowns.
Some overseas Koreans expressed regret over the watchdog's decision, saying the government has not made enough effort to protect voting rights. They said they should be allowed to vote via mail.
Some Koreans living in Germany have kicked off an online campaign calling for the right to vote, saying that except for Bavaria, 15 other federal states have not restricted people's movement.
Around 50 Korean residents in Germany and a group of progressive lawyers said they plan to file a complaint with South Korea's constitutional court over the NEC's decision. They will also seek a court injunction against it.
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