(LEAD) Exit poll: Opposition's Oh Se-hoon expected to win back Seoul mayoral seat
(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 4-7; REPLACES photos)
SEOUL, April 7 (Yonhap) -- Oh Se-hoon of the main opposition People Power Party (PPP) is expected to win the Seoul mayoral seat by a solid margin in Wednesday's by-elections, seen as a major bellwether for next year's presidential election, an exit poll showed.
Oh defeated his rival from the ruling Democratic Party (DP) Park Young-sun 59 percent to 37.7 percent in the exit poll, jointly released by three broadcasters: KBS, MBC and SBS.
The Seoul mayoral by-election was called after the previous mayor, Park Won-soon affiliated with the DP, apparently took his own life in July last year in the face of sexual harassment allegations raised by a female subordinate.
The joint exit poll also showed Park Heong-joon of the PPP leading DP rival Kim Young-choon 64 percent to 33 percent in the race for the mayoralty of Busan, the country's second-largest city.
Beside the two mayoral titles, 19 other regional public posts, are also up for grabs in the by-elections.
Welcoming the exit poll results, PPP interim chief Kim Chong-in said they reflect the public's anger toward the Moon administration.
"I think the elections mark a victory of the people's common sense ... this may be the expression of the people's rage toward the government today," Kim said, suggesting that the final election results remain to be seen.
Coming around a year ahead of the upcoming presidential election in March 2022, the results of the elections are expected to set the tone for the quinquennial presidential poll, as well as the final year of President Moon Jae-in's presidency.
Oh, if elected, will return to the mayoral seat of Seoul, home to nearly 10 million of the country's total 52 million population. He left the post at the midpoint of his second term in 2011, in protest against the opposition-dominated city council's introduction of a free school lunch program for all students.
Recent opinion polls also predicted the opposition candidate's lead as the elections came amid a public outcry over spiking housing prices under the Moon administration.
A land speculation scandal involving public officials at LH, the state housing developer, which erupted a month ahead of the elections, has also pummeled public opinion against the ruling bloc.
BTS to drop song celebrating 10th anniversary
(LEAD) 14 injured as escalator reverses at Sunae Station in Bundang
(Yonhap Interview) UNSC virtually 'paralyzed' in dealing with N.K. provocations; S. Korea to urge China, Russia to play constructive role: FM
Chinese ambassador warns against betting against China
(LEAD) S. Korea fall to Italy in FIFA U-20 World Cup semifinals
S. Korea expected to strengthen cooperation with U.S., Japan in dealing with N.K. provocations at UNSC
Three-way cooperation among S. Korea, U.S., Japan takes concrete shape to counter N.K. threats
(News Focus) Failed N.K. space rocket launch shows both technological challenges, growing space ambitions: analysts
At G-7 summit, Yoon focuses on Japan, global community, Ukraine
Nurses, doctors clash over controversial nursing act