Sewol-ho ferry accident overshadows upcoming local electionsUpdated: 2014-05-02 22:01:31 (KST)
The Sewol-ho ferry disaster has completely overshadowed the upcoming local elections in June.
With only about a month to go before the polls, the ruling and opposition parties are keeping their campaigning relatively low-key as public criticism of political leaders grows over their inability to cope with such disasters.
The latest surveys show poor government handling of the man-made disaster dragged President Park Geun-hye's popularity ratings to below 50 percent for the first time in a year.
In the past, it's been the government and ruling party that have suffered the most politically from a disaster, giving the opposition an upper hand.
But this time around, public mistrust spreads from the government to both ends of the political spectrum.
In a move likely intended to distance itself, the ruling Saenuri Party on Friday criticized the government for its mishandling of the crisis.
Party floor leader Choi Kyung-hwan then urged officials to mobilize to help the families of the missing passengers who have not been working since the Sewol-ho disaster on April 16th.
The opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, on the other hand, said onus of the disaster falls on the government and its absence of a sufficient disaster management control tower.
Co-leader Kim Han-gil said instead of waiting for the government to determine who's responsible for the ferry's capsizing, the National Assembly should lead the efforts.
Despite the political blame game, political observers say the outcome of June 4th elections may be determined more by voter turnout, as many Koreans still feel despondent over the tragedy.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.
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