Ruling camp on edge as South Korea's April 10 polls approach

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : March 29, 2024, 18:00 Updated : April 1, 2024, 01:43

SEOUL, March 29 (AJU PRESS) - South Korea's upcoming general elections, scheduled for April 10, are shaping up to be a nail-biter, with pre-election surveys painting a conflicting picture and a resurgent third party threatening to shake the traditional two-party dominance.

While the ruling People Power Party (PPP) is vying to regain control of the National Assembly, its position appears precarious. Discrepancies among major polling firms highlight the uncertainty: Hankook Research suggests a lead for the main opposition Democratic Party (DP), while Korea Gallup and Hangil Research indicate a tighter race. A total of 300 National Assembly seats are now up for grabs, comprising 254 elected and 46 proportional representatives.

Regardless of the exact numbers, one thing is clear: the outcome will significantly impact the political landscape. A failure by the PPP to secure a majority could severely limit President Yoon Suk Yeol's ability to push through his agenda in the remaining years of his term.

Adding another layer of intrigue is the emergence of the Rebuilding Korea Party (RKP) led by former Justice Minister Cho Kuk. Polling well in the proportional representation category, the RKP could become a significant player, potentially acting as a game-changer in shaping major policies in the future.
Courtesy of
Cho Kuk, the leader of the Rebuilding Korea Party [Courtesy of RKP]

The party's rise is fueled by Cho's progressive stance on social issues, appealing to younger voters who remain largely undecided. However, Cho's past, including allegations of corruption surrounding him and his family, casts a shadow over the party's future path.

This uncertainty among young voters is a significant factor. According to Hankook Research, 56 percent of individuals aged 18 to 29 remain unsure about who they'll vote for in terms of proportional representatives, highlighting their potential swing vote status.

The battle for the proportional representation seats is particularly crucial. These seats are allocated based on the overall party vote share, offering smaller parties like the RKP a chance to gain a foothold in the National Assembly. Currently, the satellite party affiliated with the PPP holds the lead, closely followed by the RKP, which has surpassed the DP's offshoot.

These elections hold immense weight for South Korea's future trajectory. The outcome will determine the balance of power, potentially impacting policies on everything from the economy and foreign relations to social welfare programs.

With just less than two weeks to go until the polls open, South Koreans are facing a choice that could shape the country's political landscape for years to come. Whether the traditional two-party system prevails, the PPP gains enough seats for check and balance after the elections, or a new era of coalition politics emerges remains to be seen. One thing is certain: these elections promise to be a turning point for this country's democracy.
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