Ruling party leader resigns following election defeat

South Korea
Photo: Yonhap

Han Dong-hoon, the leader of the ruling People Power Party (PPP), stepped down Thursday to take responsibility for the crushing defeat in the parliamentary elections, Yonhap reports. 

Han, a former justice minister and a confidant of conservative President Yoon Suk-yeol, has led the PPP's election campaign since late December, but failed to steer his party to win a majority in the 300-member parliament.

"I apologize to people on behalf of our party, which fell short of receiving people's support," Han said during a press conference at the PPP's headquarters in western Seoul.

"I solemnly accept the will of the people and deeply reflect on myself. I take full responsibility for the election results and step down."

The main opposition Democratic Party (DP) won 161 out of 254 directly contested seats, while the PPP won only 90 seats. Including proportional seats, the DP and its satellite party secured 175 seats and the PPP and its satellite party garnered 108 seats in the 300-member National Assembly.

Wednesday's election was widely seen as a mid-term confidence vote on Yoon, a former top prosecutor who took office in 2022 for a single five-year term.

The results illustrated the negative public sentiment toward the Yoon administration over his botched personnel management, rising consumer prices and controversies surrounding first lady Kim Keon Hee, foreshadowing a lame duck for Yoon's remaining three years in office.

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