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S. Korean Opposition Leader Quits Over Poll Debacle

Leader of South Korea's main Opposition Democratic United Party (DUP) Han Myeong-sook has announced her resignation owning responsibility over the party's defeat in the parliamentary elections.

"I will give my all as a member of the party for a change in government this year," she told a press conference at DUP headquarters in Seoul on Friday, referring to December's presidential election.

The ruling Saenuri party scraped through with a simple majority in a tightly-contested general election on Wednesday, winning 152 seats in the 300-member National Assembly.

DUP, which had earlier been tipped to win the election taking advantage of President Lee Myung-bak's unpopular pro-business policies, came close behind with 127 seats.

Although the outcome was not enough to bring about a change in rule in the East Asian country, the conservative Saenuri party lost some ground, losing 13 seats it had in the outgoing Parliament, while the liberal Opposition party increased its strength by 38 seats.

The dramatic upset victory is expected to serve as a major boost to Lee and the ruling party's presumed presidential candidate Park Geun-hye ahead of the presidential election.

This is the first time in two decades that the parliamentary and presidential elections take place in the same year.

DUP spokeswoman Park Sun-sook said that it would "deeply reflect upon the election results and try ceaselessly to be reborn as a party that the people can rely on."

by RTT Staff Writer

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