Main opposition People Power Party’s(PPP) Oh Se-hoon, the presumptive winner in Seoul’s mayoral race, thanked Seoul citizens for choosing him, vowing efforts to work hard for the people.
Oh made an acceptance speech at around 12 a.m. Thursday as ballot counting, which was about halfway through in Wednesday’s by-election, nearly confirmed his victory over his ruling Democratic Party(DP) rival Park Young-sun.
In the speech, Oh said he feels a grave sense of responsibility as the prospective mayor to console Seoul citizens amid the COVID-19 pandemic and economic hardships.
Oh, who previously served as Seoul mayor from 2006 to 2011, also said he believes the citizens gave him another opportunity to serve so he would swiftly and aptly resolve mounting tasks for the capital city and alleviate difficulties they are facing.
Meanwhile, PPP’s Busan mayoral candidate Park Heong-joon also made his acceptance speech as he too was expected to secure a sweeping victory against his DP rival Kim Young-choon.
Park said he humbly accepts the result, noting that Busan citizens’ support for him is not necessarily support for his party and that he will keep in mind that the public will always judge the PPP if it becomes arrogant and self-righteous.
He also promised humility in managing municipal affairs and not to disappoint citizens, while also vowing efforts for cooperative politics and unity.
Exit polls jointly commissioned by terrestrial broadcasters KBS, SBS and MBC predicted that both PPP candidates would win their races by large margins, with Oh gaining 59 percent of voter support in Seoul and Park gaining 64 percent in Busan.
Both DP candidates, Park and Kim, admitted their defeat soon after ballot counting began as they were trailing their rivals by large margins.
The winners will gain mayoral status as soon as the election results are confirmed, serving as mayor until June 30 of next year.
The mayoral by-elections were called after the previous mayors - Park Won-soon in Seoul and Oh Keo-don in Busan, both affiliated with the ruling party - left the posts last year amid sexual harassment allegations.
Park was found dead by apparent suicide last July, just a day after a female employee lodged a complaint against him.
The by-election results are viewed as an indicator for next year's presidential election.