South Korea chooses President Moon Jae-in’s successor in elections

This Wednesday, the polling stations in South Korea opened the polling stations where around 44.2 million voters are called upon to elect the successor to the social-liberal President Moon Jae In, who after five years in office can no longer stand for re-election.

According to polls, the race for power between the two favorites is very tight. On the one hand, the candidate of the Democratic Party – ruling party – Lee Jae Myung is presented, and the candidate of the conservative People’s Power Party (PPP) is Yoon Suk Yeol, whose victory will determine another five years of liberal leadership or a change of law.

More than 16 million people or 36.93 percent of a total of around 44 million registered voters cast their votes in the early voting last Friday and Saturday. The turnout was the highest since the early voting system was introduced in 2014, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.

South Korea chooses President Moon Jae-in’s successor in elections
South Korea chooses President Moon Jae-in’s successor in elections

In the elections this Wednesday, coronavirus patients and quarantine patients could vote after the end of regular voting from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (local time).

Although 14 different candidates were presented, there are two main candidates in these elections who were affected by various scandals during the election campaign.

Lee, 57, a former governor of Gyeonggi province, used his experience in public administration to campaign under the banner of a pragmatic president who will solve both economic and foreign policy problems. Additionally, in 2015, Lee was suspected of being involved in a real estate construction corruption case in Seoul when he was that city’s mayor.

For his part, Yoon, 61 and a former attorney general, has used a wave of public discontent against the current president’s administration to spread a message of justice and principles. He has faced allegations linking him to shamans and has also been overshadowed by scandals involving his wife Kim Keon Hee, who was accused of taking bribes before Yoon launched his presidential candidacy.

Polls showed a slight lead for Yoon due to his pre-election decision to ally with Ahn Cheol Soo, the presidential candidate from South Korea’s main opposition People’s Power Party (PPP).

Many believe the coalition has boosted Yoon’s chances, but others have warned it could backfire and encourage more Lee supporters to vote.

The disapproval ratings of both candidates and the scandals have led to what has been called a “bad election”.

The presidential elections are of enormous importance for Asia’s fourth largest economy. The winner of the elections will have to face challenges such as the rise in property prices in the country.

After five years in office, Moon Jae In cannot stand for re-election. Under South Korea’s presidential system, virtually everything goes through the hands of the head of state. Moon’s successor is scheduled to take office in May.

The election comes at a time of tension in South Korea, as neighboring North Korea conducted a series of missile tests in January, including launching an intermediate-range missile.

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