South Korean President Moon Jae-in's ruling party suffered a devastating defeat in a special election for key mayoral posts amid political scandals and policy blunders, vote counts showed on Thursday, APA reports quoting Reuters.
Millions of South Koreans went to the polls on Wednesday to elect chiefs of the country's two largest cities, the capital Seoul and port city of Busan, among 21 local offices up for grabs.
The election was widely seen a key barometer for potential political shifts for Moon's progressive party with less than one year left before the March 9 presidential election.
Moon and his Democratic Party have seen their approval ratings plunge to record lows in recent months amid skyrocketing housing prices, deepening inequality, sex abuse scandals and souring ties with North Korea.
In Seoul, People Power contender Oh Se-hoon secured 57.5% of votes among 8.4 million voters, clinching victory over Democratic candidate Park Young-sun who garnered 39.2%, according to the state election commission.
Exit polls had predicted Oh's landslide victory. Vote counts showed that Oh - who previously served as Seoul mayor from 2006 to 2011 - won all 25 districts of the city, fetching three times as many as Park got in the affluent town of Gangnam.