Korean conservatives lose Parliament in election upset

Saenuri, the ruling party, won only 122 seats out of 300 total. For the first time in 16 years it is a parliamentary minority. A spokesman admits defeat: "We have not been able to listen to the people." A clear signal to President Park Geun-hye, that reopens the presidential campaign. The Minjoo party, with 123 seats, becomes the major power in parliament.


Seoul (AsiaNews) – In an election shock, the Saenuri conservative party has lost the parliamentary elections in South Korea, and for the first time after 16 years is in the minority in the National Assembly. With 99% of ballots counted the elections have crowned the opposition Minjoo party.  The conservatives won 122 seats, their rivals 123. The People’s Party now has only  38 deputies.

Saenuri part secretary  Kim Moo-sung offered his resignation and has taken "full responsibility" for the failure; Ahn Hyung-hwan, party spokesman added: "We humbly accept the results and the people’s choice. The voters are very dissatisfied with our work and we are not able to listen to them. " In general terms, however, the vote was hotly contested: 58% of eligible voters went to the polls, an increase of almost 4 points compared to 2012.

Many experts emphasize that this is a warning and a signal of discontent especially against President Park Geun-hye, daughter of former military dictator and Saenuri’s diamond. Voters  seem particularly disenchanted with two points of her program: greater "dynamism" in the world of work, which has been reflected in an easing of laws protecting workers; her crackdown on opponents and dissidents, whom the government - after decades – is once again dragging through the courts.

Now all eyes are on 2017, when the ballot boxes will be opened again to choose a new president. In 2012 Park won in a tight race against the Catholic Moon, a well-known democracy activist.