SEOUL, South Korean ruling and opposition parties are gauging the possible impact of the upcoming summit between the United States and North Korea on local elections as the meeting will be held just one day before the poll.
U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday that his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will be held in Singapore on June 12, the first-ever summit between sitting leaders of the two nations.
The parties appear to think the timing of the summit will not much affect the local elections scheduled for June 13, but they differ on details.
The ruling Democratic Party (DP) seems to expect that the U.S.-North Korea summit will help it earn more votes if there is a breakthrough on the North's denuclearization.
The approval rating for the ruling party reached an all-time high of nearly 57 percent, a recent survey showed, as many South Koreans are supportive of President Moon Jae-in's efforts to make peace with the North.
"Public support for easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula has apparently been factored in," said a DP official. "If the U.S.-North Korea summit yields better-than-expected results, it could have a positive impact on the elections, but if the outcome falls short of expectations, it will negatively affect them."
President Moon and Kim Jong-un held a historic summit on April 27 at the truce village of Panmunjom. They affirmed the goal of "complete" denuclearization of the peninsula and agreed to seek to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War this year.
Meanwhile, the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) said that voter sentiment will be swayed by whether government policies are helping boost the people's livelihoods, rather than by inter-Korean relations.
"I think that Koreans will assess the North Korean issue separately from matters affecting their livelihoods before they go to polling stations," said Rep. Chang Je-won, chief spokesman at the LKP.
The centrist Bareunmirae Party gave a similar view, saying that local elections will not be affected by international issues.
Source: Yonhap News Agency