Korean Conservative Ruling Party Suffers Election Defeat in Referendum on Response to Warship Sinking

Opposition candidates trounced the conservative ruling Grand National Party in local elections, throwing a spanner into the Lee Myung-bak administration’s flagship development projects and signaling the rise of liberal politicians with ties to the late former President Roh Moo-hyun.

Declared the winner by a margin of less than 1 percent, Mr. Oh issued a statement in which he said he “in reality was defeated.” His opponent, Han Myeong-sook, who had been a prime minister in the previous liberal government under the late President Roh Moo-hyun, declared “the people of Seoul and the nation have won” even though “I may have lost.”