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By Ryan Pickrell
South Korean presidential candidate Moon Jae-in is winning by a landslide, according to Tuesday exit polls.
Moon, a liberal candidate who believes South Korea should learn to say “no” to the U.S., may soon end nine years of conservative rule in South Korea as he is expected to secure 41.4 percent of the vote, giving him a massive victory over the other candidates, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Moon’s nearest challenger, conservative Hong Joon-Pyo, is expected to get only 23.3 percent of the vote, BBC introduced.
The polls have closed, and the votes are being tallied. If elected, Moon will fill the power vacuum left by former President Park Geun-hye, who was brought down for corruption. South Korea’s first female president is in jail and awaiting trial.
The son of North Korean refugees, Moon was an activist who protested against Park Chung-hee, a military ruler and father of the imprisoned Park. After serving in the special forces, he became a human rights lawyer. He later joined the Democratic Party, and he ran against Park unsuccessfully in 2012.
He argues that he is the man to bring the country back from the corruption of the previous administration, scandals which led millions of South Korean people to protest in the streets of Seoul.
Moon advocates for dialogue with North Korea, as he believes that de-nuclearization should be brought about by multilateral negotiations while continuing to apply pressure. While he intends to maintain the bilateral alliance between the U.S. and South Korea, he has previously written that the South Korean people should learn to “say no to the Americans.” Moon desires a better relationship with China, one in which the two countries are “strategic cooperative partners.”
The presidential potential is opposed to the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile shield, which has infuriated Russia, China, and North Korea. Some observers suspect that Moon may attempt to revive the Sunshine Policy of the early 2000s, a policy which encouraged cooperation between the two Koreas.
While North Korea is a prominent issue abroad, the people of South Korea appear more focused on how Moon will address corruption, economic development, and unemployment.