Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

In A Decisive Vote, South Koreans Picked A New President

Kenny Thornton | 10 May, 2017, 00:08

Outspoken conservative Hong Joon-pyo, the candidate from Ms Park's Liberty Korea Party, described the election as a war between ideologies and accused Mr Moon of being aligned with North Korea. Two months after booting their sitting president over corruption alle.

South Koreans voted Tuesday for a new president, with victory widely predicted for a liberal candidate who has pledged to improve ties with North Korea, re-examine a contentious US missile shield, and push sweeping economic changes. But Washington is anxious his moderate stance could undercut efforts to increase pressure and sanctions, senior South Korean officials said.

(Han Jong-chan/Yonhap via AP).

His nearest rival Mr Ahn, of the centrist People's Party, cast his vote saying: "A vote is much stronger than a bullet". Two months after booting their sitting pres.

The White House is congratulating South Korea's Moon Jae-in on his election as the country's next president.

John Nilsson-Wright, senior lecturer in worldwide relations at Cambridge University, told VICE News that Moon's more moderate approach could lead to increased tensions between Seoul and Washington, as the US - accustomed to a compliant partner in South Korea - looks to put pressure on the North over its weapons programs.

A big challenge for whoever wins will be U.S. President Donald Trump, who has proven himself unconventional in his approach to North Korea, swinging between intense pressure and threats and offers to talk.

Liberal Moon Jae-in has declared victory in South Korea's presidential election after his two major rivals conceded defeat Tuesday.

Moon frequently appeared at anti-Park rallies and the corruption scandal boosted his push to re-establish liberal rule.

The concessions by conservative Hong Joon-pyo and centrist Ahn Cheol-soo came after exit polls forecast that Moon would win.

Polls closed at 8 p.m., and official results are still hours away.

WH highlights Clapper testimony on Trump-Russia collusion
Trump fired Yates in response, with the White House saying in a statement that she had "betrayed the Department of Justice". Cruz asked Clapper what he would do if, hypothetically, his employee forwarded emails containing classified information.

Official counting of the votes cast in the election may take up to 10 hours, but the National Election Commission has said the victor could emerge as early as around midnight. Moon had a relatively low share of the total vote - 41.4 percent according to an exit poll - but there were many more major candidates than in 2012, when Park won 51.5 percent, beating Moon by about a million votes.

"Moon is arguing for a new approach to both foreign and domestic policy that will signal a departure from the strategies deployed by his more conservative predecessors", he said, adding that Moon's predicted wide margin of victory would give him a "clear mandate to start reshaping the politics of the peninsula".

Many analysts say Moon, if elected, likely won't pursue drastic rapprochement policies because North Korea's nuclear program has progressed significantly since he was in the Roh government a decade ago.

Moon has called Park Geun-hye's hard-line North Korea policy a failure.

Voting stations are set to close at 8 p.m. and South Korean TV stations plan to release the results of their joint exit polls soon after the vote ends and are expected to predict a victor before midnight.

It marked the highest voter turnout in a presidential election over the past two decades. In past elections, SBS used themes from Indiana Jones, Lord of the Rings and Romance of the Three Kingdoms in broadcasting vote counts. "The electorate wants to punish the whole party for the misrule of the Park era", said John Delury, a professor at Yonsei University.

He said Tuesday, "We believe Japan-South Korea cooperation on issues such as North Korean problem is indispensable for the peace and stability in our region".

Moon has called for engagement with North Korea, saying that the hard-line approach favored by conservative governments did nothing to prevent the North from expanding its nuclear bomb and missile programs and only reduced South Korea's voice in worldwide efforts to deal with its rival.

Hong cast his vote in Seoul on Tuesday and later said the election was a "war of regime choices between people, whether they decide to accept a North Korea-sympathizing leftist government or a government that can protect the liberty of the Republic of Korea". He also calls for the United States to bring back tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea after withdrawing them in the 1990s.

Opinion surveys have shown Moon as the favorite.

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