Key Races for Control of South Korea’s National Assembly

March 17, 2020 Topic: Security Region: Asia Blog Brand: Korea Watch Tags: South KoreaPoliticsElectionPrime MinisterNational Assembly

Key Races for Control of South Korea’s National Assembly

There is no shortage of exciting storylines, colorful characters, and hotly contested races on the ballot in South Korea.

South Gyeongsang 

Geoje City and Island 

This island to the southwest of Busan, which was the birthplace of Moon Jae-in, was the site of one of the closest elections in 2016. Incumbent Kim Hanpyo of the LKP/UFP won by 0.7 points. Moon Sang-mo is a frontrunner for the Democratic Party nomination. According to a February survey, Kim would lead Moon by two points. 

Changwon City and Masan Outskirts 

A rematch. UFP incumbent Yoon Hanhong won this seat on the southernmost end of Korea by three points in his first electoral race. Democratic challenger Ha Kui-nam returns. 

South Chungcheong 

Seosan City and Taeun County 

Along South Chungcheong’s northwest coastal region, incumbent UFP representative Seong Il-jong leads Democratic challenger Jo Han-gi 


Gangbuk A and Seoul Dobong B: Swing-districts in Northern Seoul 

These two neighboring swing districts in the north part of Seoul will be a challenge for the conservatives to hold. The Liberty Korea Party won with 39.5 percent of the vote in Gangbok A and 43.7 percent in Dobong B, with the help of the center-left People’s Party winning 20 percent or more in both districts, splitting the anti-conservative vote. This time around, the People’s Party has does not exist, so the winning party might need to have closer to a majority. The two districts have voted for the same party in every election since 1996. 

Currently based in China, Mitchell Blatt is a former editorial assistant at the National Interest, Chinese-English translator, and lead author of Panda Guides Hong Kong. He has been published in USA Today, The Daily Beast, The Korea Times, Silkwinds magazine, and Areo Magazine, among other outlets. Follow him on Facebook at @MitchBlattWriter.

Image: Reuters