Voting begins in South Korea for Presidential election

Voting begins in South Korea for Presidential election

SEOUL: South Koreans went to the polls Tuesday to choose a new president, after Park Geun-Hye was ousted, detained and indicted for corruption, and against a backdrop of high tensions with the nuclear-armed North.

More than 139,000 voting stations opened at 6 am local time (2100 GMT) across the country, with turnout expected to hit a record high.

Voters have been galvanised by anger over the sprawling bribery and abuse of power scandal that brought down Park, which catalysed frustrations over jobs and slowing growth.

Left-leaning Moon Jae-In, a former human rights lawyer, has held a commanding lead in opinion polls for months, with the final Gallup Korea survey before a week-long pre-election blackout giving him 38 percent support, followed by former tech mogul Ahn Cheol-Soo on 20 percent.

Hong Joon-Pyo, of Park's Liberty Korea party, languished in third place in the 13-strong field on 16 percent.

The campaign has focused largely on the economy, with North Korea less prominent, but after a decade of conservative rule a Moon victory could mean a sea change in Seoul's approach towards both Pyongyang and key ally Washington. (APP)