South Korea will elect the country’s 19th president on May 9 as a Constitutional Court ruling on Friday upholding legislative motion to impeach President Park Geun-hye has pulled up the election calendar by seven months, the government announced Friday.
Although it is a by-election, the day will be a national holiday to help voters’ turnout.
Under the law, a presidential election must be held within 60 days after a president is removed from office upon impeachment ruling.
Any public officials with intention to run in the election must resign from office by April 9. Candidates must register between April 15 and 16.
Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, the acting president leading the polls among conservative candidates who had been courted by the ruling party to run for next presidency, Wednesday in fixing the date announced that he would not participate in the race to concentrate his attention in tending to current affairs and stabilizing the nation after division from the impeachment process and ensuring the upcoming election is administered fairly. Absentee voting for offshore residents will take place from April 25 to 30. Early votes can be registered on May 4-5. The formal poll stations will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Main opposition candidates lead the popular polls as conservatives have lost favor in the traditionally conservative-strong nation due to the disgrace with the scandal-ridden president.
Moon Jae-in who had pitted against Park in the race four years ago stays ahead in polls, followed by South Chungcheong Governor An Hee-jung and Seongnam Mayor Lee Jae-myung.
By Kim Je-gwan
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]