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Preliminary voter turnout in by-elections reaches 32.9 pct

2014/07/30 21:31

SEOUL, July 30 (Yonhap) --- Voter turnout in South Korea's largest-ever parliamentary by-elections on Wednesday reached a provisional 32.9 percent, lower than the previous average, the country's election watchdog said.

More than 948,000 out of over 2.88 million eligible voters went to polling stations across the country to pick 15 lawmakers, according to the National Election Commission (NEC).

The preliminary voter turnout was lower than the average of 35.3 percent in 14 previous parliamentary by-elections since 2000.

The voter turnout was still higher than the lowest-ever figure of 24.8 percent recorded in the 2006 by-elections, according to the NEC.

The polls, widely seen as yet another referendum on President Park Geun-hye's performance, came less than two months after the June 4 local elections in which neither the ruling nor the main opposition party claimed a clear-cut victory.

They also came as South Korea continued to recover from April's ferry disaster that left more than 300 people dead or missing and battered public confidence in the government due to its botched handling of the tragedy.

By region, Suncheon, a city in the country's southwest, saw the highest preliminary voter turnout of 51 percent, followed by Seoul's Dongjak-B constituency with 46.8 percent.