President Moon accepts mayoral election losses

South Korean President Moon Jae-in says he humbly accepts his party's losses in mayoral by-elections in the country's two biggest cities, Seoul and Busan.

Candidates from the largest opposition People Power Party defeated their rivals from the governing Democratic Party by big margins in both cities in Wednesday's elections. The races were seen as a dry run for the country's presidential election next year.

Moon said in a statement on Thursday that he sees the losses as a reprimand from the public, and that he will conduct his duties in state affairs with a humbler attitude and a heavier sense of responsibility.

The Democratic Party announced that its senior members will resign to take responsibility for the losses.
Kim Chong-in, interim leader of the People Power Party, said the election results reflect the people's anger toward Moon's administration and will provide the basis for a change of government.

The landslide victories are expected to give momentum to the PPP, which had suffered a series of losses including that in a general election last April.

But the party has yet to find a strong candidate for next year's presidential race. The PPP is considering former prosecutor general Yoon Seok-youl as its candidate for the top job.

Yoon led investigations into alleged scandals involving officials in the Moon administration until he resigned last month, apparently to protest the government's prosecution reforms.