Friday, 20 July, 2018

Liberal Candidate Moon Jae-In Wins South Korea's Presidential Election

Kenny Thornton | 10 May, 2017, 00:25

Park, South Korea's first female president, is now jailed at a detention facility near Seoul and awaits a criminal trial set to start later this month. Two months after booting their si.

But the two governments continue to be mired in a diplomatic row over comfort women statues erected by civic groups outside Japan's embassy in Seoul and its consulate in Busan, which led Japan to recall its ambassador to South Korea for three months in retaliation.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Koreans have elected Moon Jae-in as their new leader in the nation's first-ever presidential by-election, according to an exit poll, in the culmination of months of political developments that led to the downfall of his predecessor.

(Han Jong-chan/Yonhap via AP).

The final Gallup Korea survey before a week-long pre-election blackout gave him 38 percent support, with former tech mogul Ahn Cheol-soo lagging behind with 20 percent.

Prime Minister Hwang Kyo Ahn, who has been serving concurrently as acting president since Park's impeachment, decided not to run in the election. Two months after booting their sitting pres.

The election comes at a time of heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula following Pyongyang's repeated ballistic missile tests and concerns that it may conduct a sixth nuclear test, in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions. Hong, the candidate from the former ruling party, however, was seen catching up with his liberal rivals at the last minute.

Park Geun-hye is accused of allowing a close friend to extort money from companies.

Some analysts said North Korea has toned down its provocations toward the South ahead of the election to avoid emboldening the country's hard-line conservatives.

With 40 per cent of ballots counted in Tuesday's presidential election, Moon received 39.5 per cent of votes, leading conservative Hong Joon-pyo, who had 26.5 per cent. "So as a second-best resort, I voted for Moon Jae-in", he said.

Liberal politician Moon Jae-in claimed victory in South Korea's presidential election on Tuesday, after exit polls projected a landslide victory that will end almost a decade of conservative rule.

The polls will close at 8pm (local time).

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South Korean presidential candidate Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party of Korea is poised to be the country's next president.

Such polls have a low margin of error but are merely a snapshot of the stated intentions of certain voters.

The campaign has focused largely on the economy, with North Korea less prominent, but after a decade of conservative rule a Moon victory could mean a sea change in Seoul's approach towards both Pyongyang and key ally Washington. Tensions with North Korea have reached a fever pitch in recent weeks.

If the numbers hold, it will be the highest since President Kim Dae-jung was elected in 1997 with an 80.7 percent turnout.

The large number of people who cast their ballots early has been seen as a positive sign for front-runner Moon Jae-in. He says the victor of the election would be determined at around 2 to 3 a.m. Wednesday.

"The electorate wants to punish the whole party for the misrule of the Park era", said John Delury, a professor at Yonsei University.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the neighboring countries share common strategic interests. The row persists over a statue built outside the Japanese consulate in Busan.

When a corruption scandal involving Park flared last fall, Moon saw his popularity rise amid massive public outrage toward her conservative government.

China is South Korea's top trading partner - and also a major source of pollution.

Hong, an outspoken former provincial governor who pitched himself as a "strongman", described the election as a war between ideologies and questioned Moon's patriotism.

Kim Sun-Chul, 59, said he voted for Moon because "this country needs to restore democracy which has been so undermined by the Park government". "We can make it a reality only when we vote", Moon said after casting his ballot with his wife at a polling station in western Seoul.

Moon is most closely associated with the left-wing politics of another South Korean president, Roh Moo-hyun, who served from 2003 to 2008 and committed suicide in 2009, amid a family corruption scandal, after leaving office. "But if things go on this way and we win, today's victory is thanks to sheer desperation of the people who wanted a regime change". She has been indicted on bribery, extortion and other corruption allegations that could theoretically send her to jail for life.

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