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  • » 04/09/2008, 00.00

    SOUTH KOREA

    Lee tries to confirm his victory in parliamentary elections



    Just three months after his election, the newly-elected president expect South Korea’s 38 million eligible voters to hand him and his conservative Party a much needed majority if they want to implement the reforms they promised.

    Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – South Koreans go to the polls today to elect their 299-member National Assembly. The vote is seen as a test for President Lee Myung-bak who was elected to the highest office of the land last December. Mr Lee's conservative Grand National Party is counting on winning more seats than the liberal opposition United Democratic Party to begin implementing its much touted reforms. But a large number of voters remain undecided and Mr Lee’s popularity is already dipping, dampening Conservative hopes.

    Mr Lee was elected on a platform that included economic reforms and getting tougher on North Korea, tying humanitarian aid for instance to Pyongyang’s ending its nuclear programme.

    Almost in response to the Seoul’s new stance, North Korea has carried out new missile tests and closed its borders to South Korean humanitarian workers, and closed off the areas of Kŭmgangsan (Mount Kumgang) and Kaesŏng, two demilitarised areas where the Koreans from both sides worked together on humanitarian and industrial projects.

    About 37.8 million people in South Korea are eligible to cast their ballots at some 13,250 polling stations. North Korea is not likely however to play any determining role in the outcome; the economy is said to be the main factor.

    The new parliament will begin meeting May 30 for a four-year term.

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    See also

    10/04/2008 COREA DEL SUD
    Lee’s party wins elections, Seoul now waiting for reforms
    Despite a very low turnout, result allows the president to start promised economic reforms. Pyongyang issues no comment, for now.

    18/12/2007 SOUTH KOREA
    Presidential elections: waiting for Lee’s victory in Seoul
    A day before votes are cast, surveys indicate that the former mayor of Seoul will win the bid for the highest office. A declared Christian Lee Myung-bak can count less on his party’s political positions than on his own status as a symbol of South Korea’s economic success, rising like the phoenix out of the ashes of war.

    30/12/2008 SOUTH KOREA
    Opposition occupies parliament to stop trade deal with United States
    South Korea’s National Assembly has been paralysed by Democratic Party members who have occupied the main session hall to prevent it from functioning. The bone of contention is a trade deal with the United States estimated to be worth US$ 20 billion. Meanwhile consumer confidence hits lowest level in years.

    20/06/2006 SOUTH KOREA – NORTH KOREA
    Pyongyang's arrogance casts shadow on two peace meetings

    The North Korean envoy invited widespread indignation by talking about threats of war linked to a victory of the Grand National Party. At a Nobel Peace Prize conference, meanwhile, Gorbachev talked about the division of Korea as "fruit of the Cold War" and urged all to resolve conflicts in "national terms".



    02/01/2009 SOUTH KOREA
    New Year demonstrations in Seoul against the government’s “dangerous” laws
    More than a hundred thousand people, including media and teachers’ unions, take to the streets in a candlelight protest against President Lee Myung-bak’s policies on media, security services and school admission.



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