PPP takes four of five parliamentary seats in by-elections
The single constituency that the PPP didn’t win — the Jung and Nam districts of Daegu — was the only race the party said it wouldn’t join, after the seat was left vacant following former PPP Rep. Kwak Sang-do’s exit amid a snowballing corruption scandal.
The constituency eventually went to an independent candidate with close ties with the PPP, effectively bringing the area under the conservative party’s control.
The four other constituencies won by a PPP candidate were Jongno District in central Seoul; Seocho-A District in southern Seoul; Anseong in Gyeonggi; and Sangdang District in Cheongju, North Chungcheong.
While the by-elections were largely overshadowed by the tight presidential race, the PPP’s dominant victory on Wednesday is widely expected to set the tone for the June local elections.
With four seats added, the PPP now holds 110 seats in the National Assembly, though this is still far behind the ruling Democratic Party (DP)’s 172 seats.
In Wednesday’s by-elections, the DP hadn’t fielded a candidate for Seoul’s Jongno District, Cheongju’s Sangdang District or Anseong, as a sign of the party's “reform” after the three seats were left vacant by their own members.
The parliamentary seats leading Anseong and Sangdang District were left empty after former DP lawmakers were found guilty of violating election laws. Jongno District was previously held by former Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, who resigned from the post late last year to run for president. Lee eventually lost to Lee Jae-myung in the DP primary.
Among the five constituencies, Jongno had the biggest stake due to its symbolic meaning in Korean politics, as it produced three presidents. Presidents Yun Posun, Roh Moo-hyun and Lee Myung-bak all represented Jongno during their lawmaker careers.
In Seoul’s Seocho District, PPP-backed Cho Eun-hee had an overwhelming 72.72 percent of the votes, trailed by a DP-backed candidate who received 24.48 percent.
In Anseong, Gyeonggi, three-term PPP lawmaker Kim Hack-yong won 54.18 percent of the votes, more than twice as much as the runner-up independent candidate, who collected 25.66 percent.
In Sangdang District, Cheongju, the PPP’s Chung Woo-taik came in first with 56.92 percent, followed by an independent candidate, who garnered 32.81 percent.
In Jung and Nam districts of Daegu, independent Lim Byeong-heon, who has ties with the PPP, won 22.39 percent of votes, followed by a candidate of the minor opposition People’s Party, who collected 21.56 percent.