Polling booths open for South Korea’s presidential election

Seoul, Mar 9 (EFE).- Polling booths across South Korea opened Wednesday to elect the country’s new president for the next five years, with the two main contenders, the liberal Lee Jae-myung and the conservative Yoon Suk-yeol tied in the polls.

All 14,464 polling stations opened at 6 am local time (21:00 GMT Tuesday), according to the National Election Commission.

Some 44 million South Koreans are called to the polls, of which 36.93 percent — some 16 million — have already cast early votes, so more than 27 million must still decide who will succeed liberal president Moon Jae-in.

The voting centers will extend their opening hours by an hour and a half compared to previous presidential elections, so that those who have tested positive for Covid-19 or who are in quarantine can vote from 6 pm to 7.30 pm.

Both main candidates received around 40 percent each in voting intention in the latest polls, although a last-minute variable may tip the balance in favor of Yoon, from the conservative People Power Party, who last Thursday forged an alliance with the centrist Ahn Cheol-soo to unify candidates.

Yoon remains a candidate for the presidency but, if he wins, he will have to include Ahn and his collaborators in the future government.

Ahn received around 10 percent of the support in the latest polls, but it is impossible to predict what impact this alliance will have on the vote, since the South Korean electoral law prohibits the publication of polls in the six days prior to the election.

Lee, from the progressive Democratic Party, also merged his candidacy on Mar. 2 with another contender, Kim Dong-yeon, who was finance minister in Moon’s first cabinet, but who received less 1 percent in voting intention.

The winner of the election will take office on May 10, replacing Moon, who, like all South Korean presidents, can only govern for five years and cannot repeat the position. EFE


Related Articles

Back to top button