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THE WEEK AHEAD

SEOUL : A Trip to the Polls

March 24, 1992

South Korean voters will cast ballots for a National Assembly today in a preview of the December presidential election.

Unlike previous elections, when the key voter concern was democracy versus authoritarian rule, most Koreans say the foundering economy is now their chief worry. Last year, inflation climbed to 10% while the nation went from a trade surplus to a $10-billion deficit.

Items of interest include whether the ruling Democratic Liberal Party will win the two-thirds majority needed to amend the constitution. Analysts are also watching to see if Hyundai founder Chung Ju Yung's new political party does well.

The election will also indicate the strength of Kim Young Sam, who is fighting to win the ruling party's nomination after President Roh Tae Woo steps down.

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