South Korean opposition conservative Yoon Seok-yeol wins presidential election

South Korean opposition candidate Yoon Seok-yeol was elected president in Wednesday’s elections, with ruling party candidate Lee Jae-myung conceding defeat and congratulating his opponent.

With more than 95% of the votes counted and Yun topping, Lee spoke to reporters at the Democratic Party headquarters early Thursday and admitted he had failed.

An unusually bitter election campaign has been marred by scandal and defamation, but the stakes are high for the country of 52 million people.

About 77% of South Korea’s 44 million eligible voters cast their ballots to choose the leader of a country whose global standing is rising despite being riven by gender and generational divisions, as North Korea faces confrontation.

The winner must contend with challenges, including the worst wave of COVID-19 infections in South Korea, rising inequality and soaring home prices, while grappling with an increasingly tense competition between China and the United States.

Voters also want the new president to root out corruption and pursue negotiations to curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

A poll conducted by KBS in conjunction with two other major broadcasters showed Yoon a slight lead of 48.4%, and another poll conducted by cable network JTBC showed Lee leading by 48.4% versus Yoon’s 47.7%.


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