SEOUL, June 2 (Xinhua) -- South Korean citizens are going to the polls on Wednesday to cast ballots in local elections, the fifth in the country.
Voting started Wednesday morning. Around 38.85 million people, or 77.7 percent of the nation's population, are eligible to elect more than 3,900 officials.
According to the National Election Commission (NEC), there are more than 9,900 candidates who are running for a total of 3,991 officials, including 16 mayors and governors, 228 heads of low- level administrative units, thousands of local councilors, educational superintendents and educational board members.
The elections, the first since the general elections in 2008, is widely seen as a mid-term referendum on the Lee Myung-bak administration. According to local experts, the ruling Grand National Party (GNP) and the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) dominate in Gyeongsang area and Jeolla area respectively, but the situations in other provinces still remain unclear.
The polls will close at 6 pm local time (0900 GMT), after which the votes will be counted at 260 centers nationwide. The final results will come out late Wednesday or earlier Thursday.