Big win for Moon in South Korean elections
South Korea's ruling Democratic Party (DP) swept most of the contests in Wednesday's local elections, bolstering President Moon Jae-in's position as he seeks peace with North Korea.
With the results confirmed by the National Election Commission Thursday morning, the DP's landslide victories came in 14 of 17 mayoral and gubernatorial posts, plus 11 from 12 by-elections to fill lawmaker vacancies.
It was the first nationwide vote since Moon took office just over a year ago.
Far from being distracted by this week's United States-North Korea summit, a high turnout of more than 60 percent of eligible voters participated.
In practical terms, the DP has strengthened its lead in Seoul's National Assembly as well as doubling its number of mayors and governors.
That includes a record third term for Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, whose win may be seen as a barometer for the next presidential election in four years.
But the outcome is also a clear endorsement of Moon's policies, such as his patient pursuit of dialogue with North Korea, which has led to a series of breakthrough summits this year.
South Korean conservatives, on the other hand, have struggled to shed their association with Moon's impeached predecessor Park Geun-hye and a traditionally tough stance on the North.