If by-elections become necessary in South Gyeogsang and Gyeonggi, then almost half of South Korea's 44 million voters will head to the polls in April, making the elections a crucial prelude to a presidential election slated for March 2022. Park was found dead hours after his daughter filed a missing report to police earlier Thursday, multiple local media said citing police.
Both the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency and Park's office said they couldn't confirm the reports.
- Longtime Seoul City mayor Park Won-soon was found dead, according to police on Friday.
The Korea Herald said Park apologized to everyone, mainly his family, in a note found at his home.
Park, Ahn and Oh were all considered prominent members of the president's Democratic Party. A memorial altar will be set up in front of the City Hall in central Seoul Friday afternoon to allow citizens to mourn his death.
In April, Oh Keo-don resigned as Busan mayor over allegations that he sexually exploited a female employee. He was elected Seoul mayor in 2011, upsetting his conservative opponent as an independent candidate backed by opposition liberals. No sign of foul play was found, but the police was investigating the exact cause of his death. "I feel sorry for my family because I have only caused them pain".
"The victim must have had painful times in the run-up to the filing of the complaint", wrote one user.
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In the missing complaint, his daughter stated: "Four, five hours ago, my father left the house after saying words that sounded like his last will but his phone is off". The Prime Minister, Chung Sye-Kyun, expressed his condolences during a regular government meeting in response to the global pandemic.
Still, many politicians within the ruling party defended Park, including President Moon Jae-in and DP leader Lee Hae-chan. "I pray that the deceased rests in peace", the prime minister said.
The circumstances of Park's case - despite his liberal background and after a high-profile #MeToo campaign in the country - highlight the scale of gender inequality in South Korean politics, they said Friday.
"If acts of defaming him continue irrespective of the truth, we will sternly respond with legal action", he warned.
Park earned a diploma in worldwide law from the London School of Economics and Political Science at the University of London, and was a visiting fellow in the Human Rights Program at Harvard University School of Law.
He was voted into his third and final term in June past year.
Park had a similar background to Moon as a student activist in the days of South Korea's military dictatorship and later a human rights lawyer.