Polls begin to pick new South Korean president

Katrina Barker
May 9, 2017

Moon's closest rivals are conservative Liberty Korea Party candidate Hong Joon-pyo and the People's Party candidate Ahn Cheol-soo, who is also a liberal.

South Korean voters will select their new president Tuesday, less than two months after the impeachment and removal of President Park Geun-hye. -South Korea alliance will remain strong, "such a statement is kind to the leftists and may be appropriate after the election is over, but is not a smart thing to say when the USA must try its best to prevent a pro-North leftist government in South Korea".

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 USA missile defense shield and push sweeping economic changes.

But Hong has cut into the second-place status of centrist Ahn Cheol-soo, whose support was around 20 percent, a troubling sign for Ahn's hopes to absorb conservative voters disappointed with Park.

Leaders from Tokyo, to Beijing, to Washington, and of course in Pyongyang, will be nervously awaiting to see what that means for them.

FRAYER: North Korea hasn't responded, but President Trump is sending mixed messages because he's also said he's considering a pre-emptive military strike on North Korea's nuclear facilities.

Moon has said he'll talk with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un under the right conditions, and opposed the US's move to deploy a missile shield in South Korea shortly before the election.

All votes cast in advance will be kept sealed with those locked overseas to be brought back for official counting following the end of Tuesday's voting, the election watchdog added.

For weeks prior to the impeachment vote in the National Assembly, massive peaceful protests, dubbed the Candlelight Revolution, were held across the country to demand Park's ouster and for reforms to the political system in which powerful conglomerates have undue influence over elected leaders.

Moon, who lost to Park narrowly in the last presidential election in 2012, has criticized the two former conservative governments for failing to stop North Korea's weapons development. 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 defense shield and push sweeping economic changes.

SHIN MI-KYUNG: Mr. Moon described as a negotiator, and I agree that his opinion for North Korea, and we need to talk and also we need to be careful for them.

South Korea's Kospi index jumped 2.3 per cent on Monday, the most since September 2015, to a fresh record ahead of the election.

When China retaliated against the missile defense system's deployment by targeting Korean businesses, the Korean public started to sway towards support for keeping THAAD. She has been indicted on bribery, extortion and other corruption allegations that could theoretically send her to jail for life.

Yet South Korea is generally regarded as one of Asia's most active democracies. Park sympathizers later staged their own rallies.

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

According to state media reports that began Friday, he is a Pyongyang resident who was "ideologically corrupted and bribed" by the CIA and South Korea's National Intelligence Service while working in the timber industry in Siberia in 2014.

Mr Moon has promised to curb the concentration of economic power in the hands of the chaebols, the family-oriented business groups whose ties to government have been exposed in the wide-ranging scandal that saw Ms Park impeached, AFP reported. Many of those legacies dated to the dictatorship of Park's father, Park Chung-hee, whose 18-year rule was marked by both rapid economic rise and severe civil rights abuse. A human rights lawyer who has been in politics for only five years, the 64-year-old Moon is not a natural politician but one who finds himself in this position through fate.

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

A state media editorial says the current North and South relationship has been "been wrought by the conservative groups which, having been in power for the past 10 years, revived the foregone period of confrontation and maximized the political and military rivalry between the same race".

Even if he becomes leader, many analysts say Moon won't likely pursue drastic rapprochement policies because North Korea's nuclear program has achieved too much progress since he was in the Roh government a decade ago. "The close cooperation among South Korea, the U.S., China and Japan under the Park government could weaken".

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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