News / Asia

Seoul Mayor Steps Down After Losing School Lunch Referendum

Oh Se-hoon, mayor of South Korea's capital Seoul, gets into a car to leave the Seoul City Hall in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Aug. 26, 2011
Oh Se-hoon, mayor of South Korea's capital Seoul, gets into a car to leave the Seoul City Hall in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Aug. 26, 2011

A referendum this week on a plan to limit school lunches in schools in South Korea’s capital city has led to the resignation of the city’s mayor and provided a preview for broader political battles in national elections next year.  Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon had pledged to step down if voters rejected his proposal to provide free meals to only poor school children in the capital, instead of all students.  

Mayor Oh Se-hoon addressed the public on Friday and offered his resignation.  

Oh says by quitting now he is fulfilling his responsibility and limiting the possibility of creating a political vacuum.  He says he believes he is following the will of the people by stepping down.    

The people voted with their feet by not turning out. Less than a quarter of voters participated, which nullified Wednesday’s election. Oh’s measure would have provided free meals to schoolchildren whose families’ income fell under the poverty line. He said a competing plan backed by opposition lawmakers in City Council to provide lunches for all students, would be too expensive.  

The outgoing mayor’s conservative Grand National Party, which currently holds the presidency and the National Assembly, has been accused of ignoring issues of economic disparity. South Korea’s main opposition Democratic Party has called for the creation of a universal welfare state.  

Oh spoke out against that plan in his resignation speech. He says that universal welfare is not fair and that the poor should be the preferred recipients of government assistance.   

Oh had been considered a strong contender in next year’s presidential election.

Political observers here say the free lunch vote could serve as an indication of how South Koreans will vote the 2012 race.  

But for now, a special election to replace mayor Oh will be held in the coming months.   

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid