Moon Jae-in, the liberal candidate who comfortably won the 19th South Korean presidential election, officially began his term as the commander in chief of the nation and its armed forces early Wednesday.
The National Election Committee (NEC) confirmed Moon’s victory at 8:09 a.m. after the polls were closed an hour earlier. Of around 42.8 million eligible voters, about 32.7 million, or 76.9 percent, exercised their rights, the highest turnout in the past two decades after the 15th presidential election which marked 81.9 percent. It is also 1.1 percent higher than the 2012 presidential election.
The local markets that started off strong on expectations for normalization of state affairs after the no-surprise election result fell on profit-hunting from previous rally.
On Wednesday, the nation’s main Kospi index closed down 0.99 percent at 2,270.12 while the secondary tech-ridden Kosdaq index fell 0.71 point to 642.68. The Korean won weakened 0.26 percent to 1135.80 versus the U.S. dollar.
Moon secured 13,423,800 votes, or 41.1 percent, and maintained 17.1 percentage point lead over runner-up Hong Joon-pyo of the Liberal Korea Party (former ruling party) who had won 24.0 percent, or 7,852,849 votes. Ahn Cheol-soo of the People’s Party gained 21.4 percent, followed by Yoo Seong-min of the Bareun Party who won 6.8 percent and Sim Sang jung of the Justice Party 6.2 percent.
By region, Moon garnered the biggest share of the vote from North Jeolla Province with 64.8 percent vote, followed by Gwangju City 61.1 percent and South Jeolla Province 59.9 percent. The three are Honam Province, a traditional stronghold for liberals. From Seoul, he won a 42.34 percent vote.
Moon started office by being briefed by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lee Sun-jin.
By Kang Gye-man
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]