S Korean opposition party chief quits

2012-04-13 14:00

Seoul - South Korea's main opposition party chief said on Friday she would resign to take responsibility for this week's parliamentary election defeat.

"I'm stepping down as the party head to take responsibility," Democratic United Party (DUP) head Han Myeong-Sook said after the ruling conservative New Frontier Party (NFP) retained its majority in Wednesday's polls.

The NFP won 152 seats in the 300-seat National Assembly in Wednesday's closely-contested election, 25 more than the DUP, despite earlier opinion polls predicting a victory by the opposition party.

"I am stepping down today, but will still continue efforts for the administration change in the 2012 presidential election," Han said.

The election this week was widely seen as a preview of voter sentiment ahead of a presidential poll in December.

It initially appeared that the ruling party would struggle in its bid for a parliamentary majority amid waning popularity of current President Lee Myung-Bak, who is constitutionally barred from serving a second term.

The surprising victory of the NFP however is expected to bolster the position of the party leader Park Geun-Hye, a presidential hopeful.