The Washington Post reports this morning that as South Koreans are casting their votes for local elections, the opposition party (GNP) seems to be leading in a majority of the races, according initial exit polls. The GNP was leading in 11 of the 16 major cities for the posts of mayor and provincial governor. The GNP leader, Park Geun-hye, is expected to be a candidate for the presidency in 2007 after Roh's term has expired.
According to the article, North Korea is avidly anticipating the outcome of the elections, as they may be indicative of future changes to South Korean policy, though no significant change is expected in the short-term. The GNP is known for their hard-line stance against North Korea, whereas Roh's government has taken a much more accomodating and concessionary approach.
It is my opinion (and somewhat obvious) that sweeping local victories for the GNP will greatly increase Park's chances of success in 2007. If these initial reports are correct and we have seen the GNP take control on a local level, is Park a shoe-in for the presidency, and/or will this have as great an impact on North/South relations as some of the GNP hardliners would like it to?