Uri Party wins big in South Korea

Uri Party wins big in South Korea.
I’m working on a lengthy piece about this and hope to have it online later today, but the news can’t wait. Reuters (and every other media outlet) is reporting that exit polls project a landslide victory.

Exit polls showed the pro-government Uri Party winning a large majority on Thursday in South Korea’s parliamentary election, harvesting a windfall of support for impeached President Roh Moo-hyun.

Foreign investors and the opposition Grand National Party have said they fear the Uri Party could use a majority to indulge militant labour and push a radical agenda. But Uri moved swiftly on Thursday to pledge no dramatic shifts in economic policy.

“If the exit polls are true, the people saved democracy, the people saved the president,” said Uri Party leader Chung Dong-young.

The polls showed the Uri Party, which backs Roh, winning up to 172 seats in the 299-seat National Assembly. They saw the main opposition Grand National Party taking up to 115 seats.

“This is a tremendous victory for the Uri Party. The outcome represents voters’ stern judgment on the impeachment,” said political commentator Shim Jae-hoon.

Why is this such a big deal? Because huge numbers of young people, led by online news upstart, OhmyNews!, brought about the change. Moreover, the Internet played a major role in the campaigns, with each candidate offering slick Websites to woo the Internet vote. I believe this has implications beyond South Korea, but I’ll have more on that later.

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