The last I've heard is that the left-wing opposition Democratic Party (더불어민주당) is looking like it may lose more seats than expected in its southwest heartland. If it can't sweep that region, as it usually does, that is a major problem for it. The newly-formed People's Party (안철수의 국민의당) may take many of their seats.
Given the split opposition, a big net gain by the governing, right-wing Saenuri Party (새누리당) still seems possible. Saenuri has apparently set "200 seats" as their election goal (of 300 total seats to fill), up from the current 150. The opposition to the Saenuri Party seems politically discouraged. Both parties have been marred by pathetic infighting.
With One Day to the Election, Entertainers Urge: "Join Us and Vote"
[Caption:] With the 20th National Assembly Election only a day away, entertainers, too, are doing their part to get out the vote. On Friday, April 8th, AOA girl group member Seolhyeon exercised her right to vote through the early voting system.
"I ask everyone to please exercise your precious right to vote."
With the 20th National Assembly elections approaching in just a day, entertainers, too, are attracting attention in their efforts to get out the vote.
A number of entertainers took time out of their busy schedules to exercise their right to vote through early voting, and recommended that citizens participate in the election.
Among the entertainers participating in the PR campaign to get out the vote for this year's election is Seolhyeon, a member of the girl group AOA. On the afternoon of Friday the 8th, she cast her vote at a community center in Cheongdam, Gangnam District, Seoul.
Seolhyeon is voting for the second time. She voted for the first time in the June 2014 local elections. On Friday, Seolhyeon said, "Every time I vote, I'm filled with feelings of excitement and nervousness. I hope that the person I voted for wins," and "I voted with a sense of excitement in my heart." [End translation]
[사진] 제20대 국회의원 선거를 하루 앞두고 연예인들도 대거 투표 독려에 나서고 있다. 지난 8일 사전 투표를 통해 선거권을 행사한 걸그룹 AOA 멤버설현. /연합뉴스 총선 D-1, 연예인 투표 독려"소중한 안 표 함께 해요" "여러분의 소중한 한 표 꼭 행사하가시길 바랍니다." 제20대 국회의원 선거가 하루 앞으로 다간온 가운데 연예인들도 대거 투표 독려에 나서 눈길을 끌고 있다. 일부 연예인들은 바쁜 스케줄 속에서 사전 투표로 먼저 소중한 한 표를 행사하며 시민들의 선거 참여를 권했다. 올해 총선 홍보대사로 활동 중인 걸그룹 AOA 맴버 실현은 지난 8일 오후 서울 강남구 청담동 주민센터에서 투표를 했다. 설현은 2014년 6월 제6회 전국동사지방선거 이후 두 번째로 투표에 참여했다. 설현은 이날 "투표할 때마다 설레기도 하고 긴장되기도 한다. 내가 뽑은 서람이 당선될까 기대도 된다"며 "설레는 마음으로 투표했다"고 말했다.
This was in Metro, a free newspaper distributed at subway stations in Seoul (claimed daily readership, 226,000). The article continues by mentioning other entertainers who voted early and/or made similar statements to encourage the apathetic to take part in the civic ritual.
Nothing Seolhyeon said can be read as an endorsement of one party or another. If she has been Gangnam-ized yet, though, she most likely voted for Saenuri. (Her voting precinct is one of the wealthiest in the entire country.)
"Seolhyeon is patriotic; she votes; she cares; she is a good citizen. She also donates money to orphans, holds the door for the elderly, covers her nose when she sneezes, and says her pleases and thank yous, we'll have you know!" (Sincerely, The Management).
Seolhyeon's fans are not likely to be Saenuri supporters. Saenuri has low support among those born in the 1980s and 1990s. If she gets thousands more fans to vote and they go many-to-one against Saenuri, that could swing some elections against Saenuri.
The government has put up "Make Sure You Vote" banners everywhere. Why would the government do this if higher turnout may mean more votes for the opposition?
Voter turnout for National Assembly elections was:
There is a clear downward trend, here. There may be a fear that low and declining voter turnout could undermine the state's legitimacy itself. The "Make Sure You Vote" campaign could be a way to reassert the state's legitimacy.
I admit that I'd never heard the name Seolhyeon (설현) before seeing this article. I have seen her, it seems, in advertisements but I didn't recognize it to be the same person as in the newspaper photograph above. Seolhyeon is the spokesmodel for the SK Telecom phone company, my classmate in my current Korean class, M.P., tells me.
I also see from Wikipedia that she was born in Bucheon, next to Seoul, and is a graduate of Gyeonggi Art High School (경기예술고등학교). In fact, I lived in Bucheon from 2011-203, and, in fact, I worked just two minutes' walk from that high school (in a dense urban part of Bucheon New City's Central District [부천신도시 중동]). Seolhyeon graduated in February 2014, which means she was a student at that school from March 2011 (in accordance with the Korean and Japanese school-year system). I began working in Bucheon in September 2011. I likely passed her on the street many times.