July 30 by-elections: Voter turnoutUpdated: 2014-07-30 20:13:33 (KST)
We begin with the latest on today's by-elections.
Polls are now closed and vote counters are busy tallying ballots for 15 parliamentary seats that represent constituencies nation-wide.
Some call it a mini general election as the outcome of today's voting holds great implications not only for the parties but also for the Park Geun-hye administration.
For a better look at the expected outcome and the parties' reactions, we have Choi You-sun at our news center and Ji Myung-kil at the National Assembly.
You-sun, let's start off with you and start with today's voter turnout.
The National Election Commission says the overall turnout today was 32.9 percent.
That includes the amount of votes cast during last week's early voting period.
Thirty-two.nine percent is less than the by-election average of 35.3 percent but close to the turnout of 33.5 percent from the most recent by-election held in October of last year.
This, of course is lower than the 50-percent-range turnout in the last June 4th local elections and the mid-70-percent turnout recorded in the 2012 presidential election.
The 30-percent range comes as no surprise as voting day fell on a weekday and at the peak of summer vacation season.
Having said that, I should also mention turnout was considered a major determinant in this election, as more than half of the constituencies did not clearly support one party over the other.
In the past, the ruling party fared better when the turnout was low, while the opposition benefitted from a higher turnout.
That's because conservative, older voters tend to cast ballots, more so than the liberal, younger generation voters.
Last week's two-day early voting saw a turnout of nearly eight percent - the highest recorded from a preliminary voting period.
The higher-than-expected participation led many to wonder whether that trend would continue on the actual voting day.
What's interesting is that the districts that had rival candidates neck-and-neck in pre-election polls saw a greater turnout, whereas those with a strong party preference had a much-lower participation rate.
The highest turnouts were observed in the hotly-contested Suncheon-Gokseong of Jeollanam-do Province and in the Dongjak-B district of Seoul, with a turnout of 51 and 47 percent, respectively.
Suncheon-Gokseong is a traditional opposition stronghold where President Park's close aide and former press secretary, Lee Jung-hyun, is running a tight race against former president Roh Moo-hyun's aide, Suh Gab-won.
And Dongjak-B is where the former Seoul mayor candidate Na Kyung-won is competing against Roh Hoe-chan of the minor Justice Party.
This is a strategically important constituency, where we saw a dose of political drama which in the end, merged opposition party contenders to run against Na Kyung-won.
And with this merger, it will be very interesting to watch how Na Kyung-won's support is impacted.
We can expect to see a better picture of which party will claim victory after 11 p.m. tonight.
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