Moon Jae-in leads S.Korean presidential election with 36.5 percent votes counted

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-10 00:29:09|Editor: yan
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SEOUL, May 10 (Xinhua) -- Liberal candidate Moon Jae-in was leading the South Korean presidential election, with 36.5 percent votes counted.

Moon of the biggest Minjoo Party garnered 39.5 percent support around midnight Wednesday, according to the intermediate results released by the election commission. Local media outlets continued to broadcast the results.

He was trailed by Hong Joon-pyo of the conservative Liberty Korea Party with 26.6 percent and Ahn Cheol-soo of the centrist People's Party with 21.1 percent, beating rivals with a large margin.

Moon told his jubilant supporters gathering at the Gwanghwamun square in central Seoul Tuesday night that the election was "a great victory of great people" as most of local media outlets viewed his victory as assured.

He said he will become a president of all the people from Wednesday.

Moon had promised to appear in the square if all of local media outlets reported his victory was assured.

His main rivals conceded the election to Moon as exit polls and projections by local media organizations claimed his landslide victory.

During the speech at the square, Moon vowed to make South Korea a proud and righteous country where people always win.

He said he will become a president of unity caring about those who did not support him, pledging to go forward together with his rivals in the election.

Hong said in a televised address that he will accept the election result and be satisfied with restoring his party.

Ahn told the televised speech that he will humbly accept the election result, hoping that his country could go toward a future with a new president.

Yoo Seong-min of the minor conservative Righteous Party said that he had a telephone conservation with Moon to congratulate his victory, asking Moon to humbly hear the voice of voters who did not support him.

Their comments were seen by local media outlets as an apparent concession to Moon. Local media estimated his victory was already assured.

Exit polls indicated Moon coming closer to to becoming the country's 19th president.

According to the polls, Moon won 41.4 percent support, defeating conservative Hong and centrist Ahn by a wide margin.

Hong gained 23.3 percent, and Ahn had 21.8 percent, the official exit polls showed. Yoo had 7.1 percent support, and Sim Sang-jung of the progressive Justice Party won 5.9 percent.

The final turnout was 77.2 percent, or 32,808,377 voters among the electorate of 42,479,710 people. It was higher than the previous election's 75.8 percent in 2012.

An early voting, which was introduced in 2013 and first applied to this year's presidential election, was conducted from May 4 to May 5. The early voting rate was 26.06 percent.

The elected president will have no 70-day transition period as it is the first by-election caused by the removal of former President Park Geun-hye from office over corruption allegations.

The election commission is forecast to declare the winner early Wednesday after completing the vote count.