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3. Ruling Saenuri Party Wins April General Elections


3. Ruling Saenuri Party Wins April General Elections
The ruling Saenuri Party won the 19th general elections on April eleventh, securing a majority of seats in parliament.

The Saenuri Party won 152 of the National Assembly’s 300 seats. Overall, 127 lawmakers were elected directly from their constituencies and 25 were seated through proportional representation.

The ruling party’s victory came as a surprise as the general elections came at a time when public dissatisfaction was strong toward the government and the ruling camp. Such discontent arose following a cyber attack on the National Election Commission’s Web site on the day of the Seoul mayoral by-election and a vote-buying scandal surrounding a 2008 ruling party leadership election. Corruption scandals involving close aides of President Lee Myung-bak and the illegal surveillance of civilians by the Prime Minister’s Office also sparked public anger toward the government and the then ruling Grand National Party (GNP).

All the public discontent made it seem certain the opposition would win in April, but the outlook began to change when former GNP leader, Park Geun-hye, stepped up to revamp her party as the head of its emergency leadership committee. Under Park, the ruling party changed its name to Saenuri Party and brought in fresh faces after kicking out lawmakers allegedly involved in corruption.

The main opposition party also changed its name to Democratic United Party (DUP) and sought to revamp its organization, but its efforts had less impact since they came after the ruling camp carried out reform measures.

The Saenuri Party’s surprising victory in the general elections under Park’s leadership eventually led to the party selecting her as its presidential candidate.

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