After yet another scandal, the ruling Democratic Party of South Korea has lost the mayoral seats of the country's two largest cities, Seoul and Busan, in a by-election held Wednesday.
Exit polls showed that the candidates of the conservative People Power Party, Oh Se-hoon and Park Hyung-jun, won by a landslide in Seoul and Busan, respectively, receiving around 60 percent of the vote each.
Just before to the election news broke that a number of government officials at the country's Land and Housing Corporation had cashed in on housing development programs despite the Democratic Party's promises to focus on reigning in run-away property and rental prices in South Korea's cities.
The scandal comes at the wrong time for President Moon Jae-in's party which already struggled in the 2020 midterms after a corruption scandal around academic favors hit a minister who - in a similar twist of affairs - was charged with fighting corruption.
This year's Seoul/Busan mayoral race is generally seen as test for the parties coming up on the presidential elections next year. The Democratic Party, which held the two seats before, could not count on strong incumbents as former Busan mayor Oh Keo-don stepped down last April amid sexual harassment allegations. Former Seoul mayor Park Won-soon had exhausted his term limit. He also does not currently hold office. Park died in an apparent suicide in July after he too was accused of sexual harassment.