Polls begin to pick new South Korean president | Ratopati

SEOUL, March 9: Polls began early Wednesday nationwide to pick South Korea’s new president amid a neck-and-neck race between candidates of the ruling Democratic Party and the main conservative opposition People Power Party.

The election to select the next president will last from 6:00 a.m. local time (2100 GMT Tuesday) to 6:00 p.m. (0900 GMT Wednesday) at 14,464 polling stations across the country.

The voting was extended by one and a half hours to allow COVID-19 patients and those in self-quarantine to cast ballots separately.

The presidential race has been neck-and-neck as voters are obviously divided over the transfer of power.

Recent opinion polls showed approval ratings within a margin of error between Lee Jae-myung of the Democratic Party and Yoon Suk-yeol of the People Power Party.

The Democratic Party supporters wished Lee inherit the current government of President Moon Jae-in.

Conservative voters supported Yoon for the transfer of the presidential power to the conservative bloc.

An early voting, which was adopted in 2013 and first applied to the 2014 local election, was carried out from March 4 to March 5.

Out of the 44,197,692 eligible voters, 16,323,602 people, or 36.93 percent of the total, cast preliminary votes.

The early voting rate hit a record high, topping the previous presidential election’s 26.06 percent.

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