Absentee voting for South Korea’s presidential election kicked off Thursday, with each competing camp claiming that the uncertainty surrounding North Korea’s long-range rocket launch will sway voters to their side. With the main election just six days away, voting began at 6 a.m. at polling stations nationwide. A record 1.09 million voters have registered to cast their ballots during the two-day absentee voting period that ends at 4 p.m. Friday, the National Election Commission said. The vote comes a day after North Korea launched a three-stage long-range rocket in defiance of international warnings and successfully put a satellite into orbit.Full Article: Absentee voting begins amid uncertainty over N. Korean rocket launch | YONHAP NEWS.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Korea.
When North Korea revealed its plans to launch a rocket this month, South Korean president Lee Myung-bak accused Pyongyang of trying to interfere in his country’s December 19 presidential election. But it is not clear how Wednesday’s apparently successful launch will affect the result of the poll, or the victor’s policy towards North Korea. The two leading contenders, Park Geun-hye of Mr Lee’s conservative New Frontier party, and Moon Jae-in of the liberal Democratic United party, have both vowed to pursue fresh negotiations with North Korea if elected. While each condemned the rocket launch as a threat to international security, neither gave any indication of reduced willingness to push for talks aimed at economic co-operation and eventual reunification.Full Article: Impact on S Korean election unclear - FT.com.
When the popular independent candidate Ahn Cheol-soo pulled out of South Korea’s presidential contest last month, he completely changed the odds in a race that might have marked a new phase in the country’s history. Now only two candidates are still in the running, representing the main conservative and progressive camps, which have been squabbling over power since the end of the dictatorship in the late 1980s. On the right is Park Geun-hye, 60, standing for the ruling New Frontier party, and on the centre-left Moon Jae-in of the opposition Democratic United party.Full Article: South Korea's elections driven by voters' desire for reform | World news | Guardian Weekly.
South Korea’s two main presidential hopefuls are running neck and neck with the election barely a month away, the latest polls showed after a popular independent candidate bowed out of the race. The latest survey was released as the candidates, including the daughter of former military ruler Park Chung-hee, officially begin campaigning on Tuesday. Election is set on December 19.Full Article: Presidential campaign kicks off in S Korea - Asia-Pacific - Al Jazeera English.
South Korea: Divided progressive party's online leadership election marred by server error | Korea Times
The ongoing leadership election of the Unified Progressive Party (UPP) has been suspended due to errors in its server for online voting, party officials said Wednesday, amplifying uncertainties for the left-wing party beleaguered by an escalating factional conflict over alleged primary rigging earlier this year. The minor party with 13 seats in the 300-member National Assembly is set to elect its new leadership this week after a faction of alleged pro-North Korean forces lost power after it was found to be involved in the rigging of the party’s proportional representative primary for the April general election. … According to party officials, the server for online voting stopped at around midnight due to unidentified causes, resulting in a loss of the data collected since Monday. “Due to server problems, part of the voting results are missing and it is hard to restore them,” said an official of the party’s reformist emergency committee.Full Article: Divided progressive party's leadership election marred by server error.
South Korea’s ruling party claimed a majority Thursday in a parliamentary vote that centered on domestic issues but had implications for Seoul’s relationship with the North. President Lee Myung-bak’s conservative Saenuri Party was expected to win at least 152 seats while his liberal rivals were set to claim 140 in the race for 300 parliamentary seats, the National Election Commission said with 1 percent of ballots left uncounted. South Koreans went to the polls a day earlier. Ties between the two Koreas plummeted during Lee’s tenure, with two attacks Seoul blames on Pyongyang killing 50 South Koreans in 2010. North Korea also conducted a long-range rocket launch and tested a nuclear device in 2009.Full Article: SKorea ruling party wins polls amid NKorea tension - seattlepi.com.
South Korea: Illegal campaign activities, legal actions mar South Korea general elections | Korea Herald
Illegal election campaign activities continued to plague the run up to Wednesday’s general election. According to the National Election Commission, the number of Public Official Election Act violations stood at 1,239 on Tuesday. Although the figure was lower than during the 2008 general election, the number of more serious offences such as slander increased significantly. The election watchdog’s figures show that the number of cases of slander and spreading falsehoods increased 31 percent from four years ago. Areas with tight races between candidates such as South Gyeongsang Province saw increases in illegal campaign activities. According to the election commission for the region, 110 violations were filed as of midday Tuesday. In comparison, the figure came in at 85 in 2008. Incheon also suffered from a spike in irregular campaign activities.Full Article:.
Voters flocked to polling stations Wednesday in tightly contested general elections that could strip President Lee Myung-bak’s ruling party of its control of parliament and set a crucial tone for December’s vote to pick his successor. The quadrennial poll is to elect a new 300-member National Assembly, but it takes on extra significance as the results are likely to affect the presidential election just eight months away. It is the first time in 20 years the two big elections take place in the same year. The National Assembly will be comprised of 246 directly contested seats and 56 proportional representation seats to be allocated to parties according to the total numbers of votes they receive. Each voter is asked to cast two ballots, one for a candidate and the other for a party.Full Article: (3rd LD) Voting continues in crucial parliamentary elections | YONHAP NEWS.
As he sells his squid at the Jagalchi fish market in the southern port of Busan, Chang Ho-bin is happy to explain why he will be voting against South Korea’s ruling party in Wednesday’s parliamentary elections. The 33-year-old fishmonger says the government has promoted policies that have helped big companies such as Samsung but driven up living costs for ordinary consumers who cannot afford to buy his squid, which costs Won45,000 ($40) a box, more than double its price from two years ago. “President Lee Myung-bak and the ruling conservatives did not manage the economy properly,” he grumbles as a woman nearby returns an escaping red octopus to its bucket. “They supported big conglomerates but forgot small business. Prices have got too high for people on lower incomes.”Full Article: High squid prices test S Korea’s politicians - FT.com.
South Korea’s main opposition party said Monday its candidates, who had been forecast an easy victory, now faced a tight battle with conservatives in the run-up to this week’s general election. The centre-left Democratic United Party (DUP) had been tipped for an easy win in polls on Wednesday, a key test of sentiment before a presidential vote in December, but DUP leader Han Myeong-Sook admits the race is neck-and-neck. “We are now in an emergency situation and seized with a sense of crisis,” Han told reporters. A higher voter turnout would benefit opposition candidates who are more popular among younger voters, the DUP leader said. “If you cast ballots, the people will win. If not, the administration of (President) Lee Myung-Bak will win,” Han said.Full Article: AFP: S. Korea opposition admits tight election contest.
South Korea’s liberal opposition, bolstered by the under-40s and power of social media, could spring a surprise win in this week’s parliamentary elections despite opinion polls that show it tied with the ruling conservatives. Experts say traditional pollsters base their projections on owners of fixed telephone lines, whereas people in their 20s and 30s, who form 37 percent of the voting population in the world’s most wired country, rarely use them. The young, more likely to carry a Samsung Galaxy or Apple iPhone in their pockets, are mostly liberal and their views are expressed and spread online, often by their smartphones.Full Article: NewsWires : euronews : the latest international news as video on demand.
South Korean President Lee Myung Bak’s ruling party faces losing control of parliament next week to an opposition that vows to increase welfare spending, revisit a U.S. trade deal and improve ties with North Korea. The New Frontier Party is struggling to overcome bribery and illegal surveillance scandals ahead of April 11’s National Assembly elections that may forecast the December presidential race. The opposition Democratic United Party has pledged to create 3.3 million jobs and may get a boost from younger voters who face an unemployment rate almost twice the national average. Asia’s fourth-largest economy has had slower growth and higher inflation under Lee than his predecessor, contributing to a 50 percent drop in his popularity. Relations have also worsened with North Korea, who plans to fire a long-range rocket between April 12 and 16 would scuttle a food aid agreement with the Obama administration. “An opposition victory will hasten Lee’s position as a lame duck,” said Lee Nae Young, a political science professor at Korea University in Seoul. “Regardless of who wins, we could see many welfare policies enacted before Lee’s term ends, as parties try to improve the odds for December.”Full Article: South Korea Ruling Party Risks Parliament Election Loss - Businessweek.
By the time Pyongyang’s rubber stamp parliament meets on April 13 to anoint Kim Jong-un as the third of his line to rule the impoverished state, 53-year old Cho Myung-chul will likely have become the first North Korean to win a free election. The rub is that Cho, once part of North Korea’s elite who defected in 1994 during the 17-year rule of Kim Jong-il, is standing in parliamentary elections in South Korea April 11 – the first defector to do so. “When I first came to Seoul I was filled with rage and pure hatred for Kim Jong-il’s government,” Cho told Reuters in a cafe in the heart of Seoul’s bustling commercial centre. Cho studied at and later joined the faculty of Kim Il Sung University, named after the founder of North Korea and reserved for regime loyalists.Full Article: North Korean refugee stands for parliament in the South | Reuters.
The National Election Commission plans to prevent North Korean defectors from entering South Korean diplomatic missions in China during the overseas voting period for the general elections. The overseas voting period for the April 11 general elections runs from March 28 to April 2, and the ballots are open to overseas Koreans with Korean nationality, and absentees such as those studying or working abroad. According to reports, the National Election Commission is reviewing plans to collaborate with the Chinese police force to prevent North Korean defectors from entering South Korean diplomatic missions, where the voting will take place, by pretending to be South Korean citizens.Full Article: Seoul to keep N.Korean defectors away from polling stations.
The websites of the National Election Commission and the pan-opposition candidate for Seoul mayoral by-election, Park Won-soon, were paralyzed by cyber attacks on Wednesday morning as voters went to the polls. The onslaught was a so-called distributed denial-of-service attack whereby hackers effectively overload certain websites by activating masses of zombie computers that have been infected with a virus.
“A DDoS attack interrupted access to the commission’s website from 6:15 a.m. to 8:32 a.m.,” an official with the election watchdog said. “We took an emergency measure with a DDoS defense system, but to no avail. So we diverted web traffic to a cybershelter provided by KT.”Full Article: The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea - Cyber Attacks Hit Election Commission, Candidate.
Police are investigating what and who caused the state election watchdog’s website to crash for about two hours on Wednesday morning, keeping in mind the possibility of a so-called “distributed-denial-of-service” attack, officials said. The website of the National Election Commission crashed between 6:15 a.m. and 8:50 a.m. when many voters visited it to locate polling stations where they could cast their ballots for the by-elections for Seoul mayor.
Investigators suspect that the website crashed due to a “DDoS” cyber attack. The attacks swamp selected websites with massive traffic, using virus-infected “zombie computers” to launch simultaneous access to them. “Due to what appears to be a DDoS attack, problems intermittently occurred on the website. We are now trying to verify where the attack originated,” a government official said, declining to be named.Full Article:.
A total of 72 school students from across the country gathered for a forum in Seoul last week and demanded the government grant students aged 13 and older voting rights in the election of educational superintendents. They also requested that relevant ministries standardize educational programs for elementary school students to learn about elections and voting rights.
The demands came at the Korea Child Conference held Wednesday through Friday in Seoul, where children held fierce, logical and reasonable discussions. “We have every right to be respected. We are not an object of ignorance or indifference. We are not to be subject to force, violence or verbal abuse,” said Cho Ye-rin, a 12-year-old participant from Ansan in Gyeonggi Province, as she read the resolution adopted at the annual meeting.Full Article: Children demand vote in education elections: Seoul.