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Voter turnout in upcoming local elections under close scrutiny Updated: 2014-05-16 22:43:52 KST

  Voter turnout in upcoming local elections under close scrutiny

All candidates vying for seats in the June 4th local elections have now made their candidacies official.
Registration for the 3-thousand 9-hundred fifty-two positions for grabs ended Friday for the local positions that range from mayoral and provincial governor posts to councilors and ward members.
The municipal elections will be viewed as a first chance to judge the current Park Geun-hye adminstration, and voter turnout will be a key factor in determining which political party wins.
According to a February survey conducted by the polling organization Research Plus, 84 percent of respondents said they would vote or try to vote on June 4th.
In a follow-up survey conducted this week, respondents were asked if the Sewol-ho ferry disaster had affected their determination to vote.
Thirty-five.2 percent said it had; 21.1 percent said it hadn't.
Meanwhile, an increase in independent voters could also play a critical role on election day.
A survey conducted by Embrain suggests that of all voters on election day, 43.8 percent of them will be people with no party affiliation.
Their perception of the job President Park Geun-hye has done over the past year could make a difference, and last month's ferry tragedy looms large.
A survey by Gallup Korea shows that the president's approval ratings among women in their forties was 62 percent on April 4th before the ferry disaster.
On May 2nd, two weeks after the accident, the figure had dropped 20 percentage points to 42 percent.
Experts say it reflects the maternal instinct of women in their forties who have children the same age as those who perished on the Sewol-ho ferry.
There is speculation that candidates of the ruling Saenuri Party will take a beating on June 4th.
Analysts aren't as sure.

"If the distrust in government keeps people away from the polls, they say, and the turnout falls below 40 percent, the ruling party could gain an upper hand.
Ji Myung-kil, Arirang News."
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