Lee Nak-yon (L), candidate of the ruling Democratic Party, and his wife celebrate election win for the Jongno constituency.
South Korea's ruling Democratic Party clinched a landslide victory in the 21st parliamentary elections, widely seen as a referendum on the Moon Jae-in government amid the global coronavirus crisis.
According to preliminary results released early Thursday by the National Election Commission, the ruling DP and its satellite party are forecast to secure 180 seats.
The main opposition United Future Party and its affiliate party are likely to win 103 seats.
With just over 99 percent of the votes for the directly contested seats counted, the NEC said the DP took the lead in 163 constituencies across the nation, followed by the UFP with 84 districts.
The Korea Future Party, the UFP's satellite party, is expected to take 19 proportional representation seats while the DP's affiliate Together Citizens' Party earns 17 seats.
It is the first time in 16 years the ruling party has succeeded in winning a majority of parliamentary seats.
The final results are anticipated later in the day.
The quadrennial elections were held Wednesday to fill the 300-member unicameral National Assembly -- with 253 directly contested seats and 47 proportional representation slots--amid the country's battle against COVID-19.
Voter turnout tentatively came in at 66.2 percent, the highest in 28 years, while participation in early voting also hit a record 26.69 percent.■
<Photo: Yonhap News>
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