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Governing party candidates took a strong lead Monday in a parliamentary election seen as a referendum on the conservative government of President Roh Tae-woo.

With about 20 percent of the votes counted, candidates of Roh's Democratic Liberal Party were leading in 138 of the 237 single-member districts. Candidates of Kim Dae-jung's top opposition party were ahead in 57 districts.The new conservative opposition party founded by Chung Ju-yung, a maverick millionaire businessman, had 18 candidates leading. Fourteen independents were ahead. There was no word on trends in other districts.