The two-day candidate registration period for the June 13th local elections closed on Friday.
A total of 17 posts for chiefs of provinces and metropolitan areas, 226 positions for heads of smaller administrative units and 824 seats for members of provincial and metropolitan councils will be filled come June 13th.
Nearly three-thousand lower-level local councilor posts and 17 positions for superintendents of education will also be up for grabs.
For the first time, the parliamentary by-elections will be held on the same day as the local elections, where a total of 12 parliamentary seats will be contested.
In a bid for his third term in office, incumbent Seoul City Mayor Park Won-soon of the ruling Democratic Party will run against former presidential hopeful Ahn Cheol-soo and former Gyeonggi Province Governor Kim Moon-soo.
The official campaigning period kicks off on May 31st. From this day, candidates can send out pamphlets through mail, put up posters on walls, hold debates and use vehicles for electioneering.
Early voting will take place on June 8th and 9th from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Election day on June 13th will be a national holiday and voting booths will open from 6 in the morning until 6 in the evening. The results will for the most part be finalized by the early hours of the following day at the latest.
The upcoming elections mark the first nationwide election under the Moon Jae-in administration and are thus regarded as the public’s midterm report card on the government’s performance so far. The parliamentary by-elections in particular are viewed as a “mini general election.”
Backed by President Moon’s high approval rating, the ruling Democratic Party is ahead in many contested areas. Meanwhile, the opposition remains fractured and is struggling to raise its low public support.
However in parliamentary elections, if the main opposition Liberty Korea Party manages to win nine or more seats out of the 12, it could possibly become the largest negotiation group in parliament.