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(LEAD) Ex-PM Lee certain to win against main rival Hwang in Seoul's Jongno

All News 00:58 April 16, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with vote counting results, comments)

SEOUL, April 16 (Yonhap) -- Former Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon of the ruling party is sure to win a parliamentary seat over his main rival Hwang Kyo-ahn in the Jongno district, a politically symbolic constituency in central Seoul.

As of Thursday 12:55 a.m., with 89.5 percent of votes cast in the electoral district counted, Lee of the Democratic Party had received 57.5 percent of the votes compared with 40.8 percent recorded for Hwang, chief of the main opposition United Future Party.

Jongno is regarded as a symbolic constituency in South Korean politics -- a place where key political heavyweights, including three former presidents, were elected.

During campaigning, their race gained intense attention as they are widely viewed as potential candidates for the 2022 presidential elections.

Lee is leading opinion polls as the most favored potential presidential contender against Hwang.

"I thank residents of Jongno for entrusting me with this job as a legislator," Lee said in his campaign office in Jongno at about 9:40 p.m. on Wednesday when his election victory became almost certain.

He also expressed appreciation to the people for giving the ruling party and its affiliated Platform Party a majority of seats in the parliamentary elections.

"We will do all we can do to overcome such national difficulties as COVID-19 and the economic shrink," he said.

Hwang announced on Wednesday that he will step down from his party post to take responsibility for the party's defeat in the elections.

These photos show former Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (L) of the ruling Democratic Party and Hwang Kyo-ahn (R) of the main opposition United Future Party casting ballots in parliamentary elections in the Jongno district in central Seoul on April 15, 2020. (Yonhap)

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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