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Seoul court OKs referendum on free school meals

(Xinhua)

16:21, August 16, 2011

SEOUL, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- A Seoul court on Tuesday dismissed a request by South Korean opposition parties and civic groups to suspend a city-wide referendum on free school meals.

The rejection by the Seoul Administrative Court, made on the ground that the vote will be a key gauge of public opinion on the matter, comes as the city government seeks to get Seoul residents to vote on whether the city should provide free lunches at all elementary schools.

The opposition, led by the liberal main opposition Democratic Party that forms a majority in the city council, insists the referendum has procedural problems that disqualify the vote itself.

The vote will take place on Aug. 24 as planned, with Seoul mayor Oh Se-hoon pledging to resist what he calls "welfare populism" by his liberal opponents.

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