Oh Se-hoon, of the main opposition People Power Party, has won the Seoul mayoral seat in a landslide.
The results of the by-elections delivered a crushing blow for President Moon Jae-in's ruling Democratic Party just 11 months before the next presidential vote.
Our Ron Chang reports.
The conservative candidate, Oh Se-hoon, defeated his more liberal DP rival Park Young-sun in Seoul's mayoral race, garnering 57.5 percent of the vote compared to her 39.2 percent.
Oh said he felt "a great sense of responsibility" as he returned to City Hall this morning for the first time in 10 years.
He previously served as mayor from 2006 to 2011, but was forced to resign early after a failed campaign to end free school lunches.
Oh now faces a new slew of challenges, including the issue of soaring housing prices in the capital city and supporting people's livelihoods amid the ongoing COVID pandemic.
Another big mayoral race in the southern city of Busan ended with a win for Park Hyung-jun, also of the main opposition party.
He too will have to deal with contentious housing and real estate problems.
These wins by conservatives in the two metropolitan cities as well as victories in 13 of the 19 other regional and local government races will likely prompt the ruling party to revamp its policies if it wants to keep the top office when President Moon's term ends next year.
Moon, for his part, said he accepts the by-election results and will take the people's rebuke seriously.
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