Exit polls pointed to main opposition Democratic Party candidate Moon Jae-in as a winner by a comfortable margin in a vote to elect South Korea’s 19th president that ended at 8 p.m. Tuesday as conservative votes were equally divided between his conservative and centrist rivals in a three-way race.
Moon led the joint exit poll carried out by three major broadcasting stations KBS, MBC and SBS, gaining 41.4 percent, while Hong Joon-pyo of the Liberal Korea Party (former ruling party) secured 23.3 percent and Ahn Cheol-soo of the People’s Party 21.8 percent.
The turnout that showed signs of being a record high from the morning was slightly disrupted by rain later in the day. The National Election Commission (NEC) counted the turnout at 77.2 percent or 32.81 million of the eligible 42.48 million voters well above the previous record high of 75.8 percent in the 2012 election in which Moon had lost to conservative candidate Park Geun-hye with 48 percent to 51.6 percent in a two-way race.
Yoo Seung-min of the conservative Bareun Party gained 7.1 percent and Sim Sang-jeung of the progressive Justice Party 5.9 percent.
The exit polls were taken against 99,000 voters from 330 poll stations across the nation from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. The polls do not include 11.07 million pre-election votes, or 26 percent, of the eligible voters who cast their votes in the pre-vote period on last Thursday and Friday.
The NEC said that the result of the election will come in by 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Wednesday morning when 70 to 80 percent of the vote is counted.
By Shin Heon-cheol
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]