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Voting Begins in South Korean Parliamentary Elections

Voting has begun in South Korean parliamentary elections that will gauge public sentiment ahead of next year's presidential race.

This is the first general election since President Park Geun-hye was sworn into office in 2013.

Rising unemployment, plunging exports and worryingly high levels of household debt have led to criticism of Park's handling of the economy and, by extension, of her ruling conservative Saenuri Party.

Dissatisfaction is especially high among young people, with the jobless rate among those ages 15-29 at record levels.

But despite the economic dissatisfaction, many predict the ruling party will retain its lead.

Early results are expected to be available starting about an hour after voting closes at 9 hours UTC. Official tallies are not expected until early Thursday.