South Korean Parliamentary Election to Set Tone for Rest of Leader’s Term

In the two years since he was elected, President Yoon Suk Yeol has made his mark in foreign policy, forging deeper ties with the United States and Japan. But his business-friendly domestic agenda has been stalled by his own missteps and an opposition-controlled Parliament.

Mr. Yoon has a shot at a do-over on Wednesday, when South Koreans head to the polls to ​select a new Parliament.

Dozens of parties are vying for the 300 seats in the National Assembly, South Korea’s single-chamber legislature. However, the contest is largely between Mr. Yoon’s conservative People Power Party and the main opposition camp, the liberal Democratic Party. Both have intense followings, but the eventual winner is expected to be decided by moderate and swing voters.

This is the first general election since Mr. Yoon won the presidency in 2022, beating Lee Jae-myung of the Democratic Party by a razor-thin margin. The results will decide the makeup of the Assembly for the next four years, and they could also determine the political fate of the two rival leaders.

The opposition leader Lee Jae-myung, top left, with a Democratic Party candidate for Parliament, Park Seong-joon, at a rally in Seoul on Saturday.Credit…Lee Jin-Man/Associated Press

If his party suffers a major loss, Mr. Yoon, 63, could essentially become a lame duck for the rest of his single, five-year term and could even face the threat of impeachment. Mr. Lee, 59, who has faced bribery and other criminal charges in court, is equally desperate to score an electoral victory.

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