Exit polls forecast close race between ruling, opposition partiesSouth Korea's ruling and main opposition parties were expected to each win at least five of the 16 metropolitan mayoral and gubernatorial posts contested in Wednesday's local elections, according to joint exit polls by local TV stations.
Five mayoral and gubernatorial races -- Seoul, South Chungcheong Province, North Chungcheong Province, South Gyeongsang Province and Jeju Province -- are too close to call, said the polls released right after voting was closed at 6 p.m.
The ruling Grand National Party (GNP) was forecast to win Gyeonggi Province and its traditional strongholds -- Busan, Daegu, Ulsan and North Gyeongsang Province, while the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) was also expected to secure victories in Incheon and Gangwon Province, in addition to its three traditional power bases -- Gwangju, South Jeolla Province and North Jeolla Province, the polls showed.
The minor opposition Liberty Forward Party was expected to win in the mayoral race in Daejeon, the polls forecast.
The predictions were based on the combination of the results from exit polls and surveys taken before voting began. Official electoral results are due early Thursday morning.
A total of 3,991 officials, including 16 metropolitan mayors and provincial governors, and 228 heads of lower-level administrative units, will be chosen in the first nationwide election in two years. [Yonhap]