Rival parties spin record early voter turnout to their advantage

A citizen watches security camera video footage showing early voting ballot boxes in front of Seoul Election Commission, Saturday, when the early voting for the April 10 general elections ended with a 31.28 percent turnout, the record high for general elections. Yonhap

Rival parties are putting their own spin on the record-high voter turnout for early voting in the April 10 general elections, suggesting that the attendance mirrors the public’s discontent with the opposing political party.Analysts say it is too early to conclude if the high turnout will deliver a significant blow to the Yoon Suk Yeol administration, as asserted by the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK), or if it reflects public dissatisfaction with corrupt opposition candidates, as claimed by the ruling People Power Party (PPP).According to the National Election Commission (NEC), the turnout for early voting from Friday to Saturday stood at 31.28 percent, as 13.85 million out of 44.28 million eligible voters cast their ballots before the voting day. This marked the highest turnout for a general election snce the adoption of early voting in 2016, surpassing the 12.19 percent attendance recorded at the time.This year’s voter tunout was 4.59 percentage points higher than the previous general elections. The 2020 general elections saw a voter turnout of 26.69 percent. In contrast, voter turnout for the 2022 presidential election reached 36.93 percent.

PPP spokesperson Rep. Park Jeong-ha said Sunday the turnout shows that voters “cast their precious ballots for the PPP, which represents the future and hope of Korea, in a showdown against forces that have resorted to abusive language, unethical tactics, tricks and crimes.”A day earlier, the party’s interim leader Han Dong-hoon also said while out and about campaigning that “it will be the first election in which we can gain momentum in early voting.”“The turnout is high because voters headed to polling stations to show how angry they are because of the criminals,” Han said, referring to the main opposition DPK Chairman Lee Jae-myung who is standing trial for a number of corruption allegations.The DPK also hailed the high early voter turnout, interpreting it in its favor.“The record-high early voter turnout confirmed the angry sentiment against the Yoon Suk Yeol administration,” DPK spokesperson Rep. Kang Sun-woo said during a press briefing, Saturday. “The voters unequivocally sent a message to the ineffective and authoritarian Yoon administration, affirming who holds the sovereign power in this nation.”The DPK chairman also said, “It is time to hold (the Yoon administration) accountable for ruining our lives and using taxpayers’ money 메이저 against the people.”

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