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(LEAD) Overseas voting kicks off for S. Korea's parliamentary elections

2016/03/30 14:34

(ATTN: CHANGES dateline; RECASTS throughout; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, March 30 (Yonhap) -- South Koreans living outside of the country began casting their ballots for the April 13 general elections Wednesday.

The overseas vote for the parliamentary elections kicked off as the first polling station opened in Auckland, New Zealand at 8 a.m. local time, followed by one in Sydney, Australia.

"By 11 a.m., 23 people cast ballots, including 17 to 19 people in their 20s and 30s," a consular official in New Zealand said.

In New Zealand and Australia, 1,367 and 2,933 people respectively registered to cast their votes.

Later on the day, 10 polling stations opened in China and Japan, where respectively 21,637 and 29,376 South Korean nationals registered to cast their votes.

The six-day run will be conducted at 198 polling stations in 113 countries worldwide, according to the National Election commission (NEC).

A total of 154,217 people, or 7.8 percent of some 1.98 million eligible citizens living abroad, have registered to cast their ballots, the NEC said.

The commission said that the registration numbers were higher than the previous parliamentary elections held in 2012 thanks to the number of increased polling stations and easier registration process.

Registered voters are required to carry a valid form of photo identification such as a passport or a resident registration card and visit a nearby polling station, the NEC said.

Overseas South Koreans became eligible to participate in domestic parliamentary and presidential elections after the related legislation was passed by the National Assembly in 2009.

A Korean national casts his vote for the April 13 parliamentary elections in Sydney, Australia on March 30, 2016. (Yonhap) A Korean national casts his vote for the April 13 parliamentary elections in Sydney, Australia on March 30, 2016. (Yonhap)

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