Overall, things did not look good for the Grand Natioanl Party of Lee Myung-bak; while his party suffered soon after his election in February 2008 due to miscues like the "four rivers" and Sejong City projects--not to mention American beef--it had been on the rise in recent polling, due in part to Lee's strong stance on North Korea in response to the Cheonan sinking. From Reuters:
The opposition Democratic Party won seven of 16 major races for the country's largest cities and the provinces in an upset that surprised GNP and analysts who had been expecting a large win for the conservative ruling party.
Korean politics are a boistrous and zany as any in the world, so I'm suprised analysts could agree on anything, especially that. Maybe it's because I live over here in the west side of Seoul--you know, the left--but I had assumed the GNP was going to take a hit. As the Korea Herald explains:
The larger than expected voter turnout and tight race in many regions indicate many voters were poised to “take a whip” at the Lee government, political analyst Ko Seong-kuk said in a televised interview ... “Preliminary results show voters in some of the most critical regions turned hostile toward the ruling party,” he said. “This proves the North Korea factor was not strong enough to outstrip voters’ negative sentiment toward the Lee Myung-bak government’s lack of attention on regional economy and welfare.”
Seoul mayor, Oh Se-hoon of the GNP was expected to survive, and he did. In order to deflect blame from settling on President Lee, GNP headman Chung Mong-joon fell on his sword: "We humbly accept the voice of the Korean people of rebuke ... I want to take this chance to express my wish to resign."
In other news, George W Bush got own Facebook page on the internets: GWB's Facebook page.