The public raised a red flag against the ruling party while keeping the opposition on its toes.
Experts say the local election results reflect public anger toward the current administration's handling of April's Sewol-ho ferry disaster that claimed hundreds of lives.
But they add that not handing over a landslide victory to the opposition means people are willing to give the Park Geun-hye administration a second chance.
"We thank the people who have supported us and given us another chance. We will continue to carry out reforms within our party."
By snatching nine of the 17 seats up for grabs, the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy has gained an upper hand for now.
But the very narrow win, despite favorable conditions. indicates that the public is still wary of fully trusting the opposition party.
"We will do our best to shed light on the truths behind the ferry disaster and focus on establishing fundamental solutions."
The upcoming July by-elections will be another opportunity for the rival parties to gauge public sentiment.
Whether the ruling party can strike a chord with the public through President Park's soon-to-be-conducted Cabinet reshuffle will be key in regaining support.
The NPAD in the meantime will have to show and prove that its co-leadership is solid in order to avoid losing momentum.
Laah Hyun-kyung, Arirang News.