Incumbent Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon of the main opposition party started his campaign by greeting commuters, at one of the capital's busiest subway stations in Gangnam on Thursday.
"Koreans,especially Seoul citizens, start their hard life from the morningcramming into subway trains. There is a problem with the quality of people's lives."
The ruling Saenuri Party's Chung Mong-joon, who is challenging Mayor Park, spent part of his first day campaigning at Yeongcheon traditional market trying to connect with the working class.
"This market is located in the center of Seoul with convenient transportation nearby. I will work with local district members to make this market cleaner and more attractive."
Candidates will be making their pledges known in their provinces and cities over the next couple of weeks.
Many of them will center around safety, as candidates seek to win support from a population disappointed and frustrated with the government's poor handling of the Sewol-ho ferry disaster.
The ruling Saenuri Party is adopting an apologetic approach.
The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy is expected to target the government, tapping into the perceived lack in competence in safety management.
"In the latest polls, the ruling party is lagging behind the main opposition party in key regions such as Seoul and the western port city of Incheon. Ruling party candidates have seen their support crumble in the wake of the ferry accident.
Ji Myung-kil, Arirang News."