Warship attack dominates South Korean election

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The Independent Online

The sinking of a South Korean warship which was blamed on North Korea overshadowed local elections yesterday.

They were seen as a gauge of public sentiment toward the pro-American President's handling of the security crisis.

Outrage over the sinking, which killed 46 sailors, bolstered support for President Lee Myung-bak's ruling conservative Grand National Party ahead of the vote that will fill 3,991 positions – including mayoral jobs that often are springboards for future national leaders.

Voter turnout was 54.5 per cent of South Korea's 38.8 million eligible voters, the National Election Commission said. Results were not expected until today.

The main opposition Democratic Party has accused the government of exploiting the sinking for political benefit, arguing Mr Lee should have announced the investigation results after the polls. North Korea denies the attack.