South Korean crowds vote in presidential poll



Zeenews Bureau

Seoul: Weathering an inclement chill, South Koreans on Wednesday marched out of their homes to cast their votes in a crucial presidential election that could see the nation getting its first female President.

The election is thought to be a neck and neck race between two top contenders - Park Geun-hye of the governing Saenuri party and Moon Jae-in of the Democratic United Party.

South Koreans stood in long lines, wrapped in mufflers and parkas. A big turnout could mean large numbers of young people more likely to be aligned with Moon are going to the polls, analysts said.

Park's conservative base is comprised mainly of older voters who remember with fondness what they see as the firm economic and security guidance of her dictator father, Park Chung-hee.

Seoul's election watchdog said turnout was about 59 per cent this afternoon, which is 11 percentage points higher than five years ago, when current conservative President Lee Myung-bak won a landslide victory It is also 5 percentage points higher than a decade ago, when Moon's protege and former boss, liberal Roh Moo-hyun, won.

Today is a national holiday in South Korea. Polls opened at 2100 GMT and were to close at 0900 GMT, after which television broadcasters planned to announce results from exit polls predicting a winner.

For all their differences, Moon, who was Roh's former chief of staff, and Park, who belongs to Lee's party, hold remarkably similar views on the need to engage with Pyongyang and other issues. Park's conservative base is comprised mainly of older voters who remember with fondness what they see as the firm economic and security guidance of her dictator father, Park Chung-hee.

Seoul's election watchdog said turnout was about 59 per cent this afternoon, which is 11 percentage points higher than five years ago, when current conservative President Lee Myung-bak won a landslide victory It is also 5 percentage points higher than a decade ago, when Moon's protege and former boss, liberal Roh Moo-hyun, won.

Today is a national holiday in South Korea. Polls opened at 2100 GMT and were to close at 0900 GMT, after which television broadcasters planned to announce results from exit polls predicting a winner.

For all their differences, Moon, who was Roh's former chief of staff, and Park, who belongs to Lee's party, hold remarkably similar views on the need to engage with Pyongyang and other issues.

With Agency Inputs