South Korea Presidential election: Voting begins to replace impeached Park

| Updated: May 09, 2017 14:00 IST

New York [United States], May9 (ANI): South Koreans on Tuesday began casting their votes to elect a new president, after months of political turmoil, mounting regional tension concerning North Korea and concerns about corruption and economy. Voting began at 6 am local time at 13,964 polling stations throughout the country. The decision to call for early presidential polls was caused by the March 10 ouster of former President Park Geun-hye by a Constitutional court. Meanwhile, the impeached former President remains jailed in a corruption case involving interventions to the presidency from her aide, as well as allegedly connected her to Samsung and the Lotte group. Moreover, unlike in the previous elections, the presidential-elect will be inaugurated immediately after an official declaration of his or her victory by the National Election Commission in a meeting stated for early Wednesday. Thirteen candidates are vying for the top elected office but it is three-way race between Moon Jae-in of the Liberal Democratic Party, Hong Joon-pyo of the conservative Liberty Korea Party and Ahn Cheol-soo of the centre-left People's party, CNN reports. The voters appear to choose a center-left candidate, Moon Jae-in, whose election would end nearly a decade of conservative party rule, signaling shifts in policy with regards to United States and North Korea. Moon was a strong supporter of the "Sunshine Policy' an attempt to improve relations between two Koreas between 1998 to 2008. More than 11 million people-about 26% of the electorate-have already participated in early voting, according to the national election committee. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has sent warships and submarines to the region to pressurize North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to abandon his country's nuclear and ballistic missiles program. (ANI)