South Korea Presidential Poll Scheduled for May
The date for South Korea’s presidential election has been announced, with the country set to vote on its next leader nearly two months after a court upheld the impeachment of former president, Park Geun-hye.
The country’s presidential elections will take place on May 9, Interior Minister Hong Yun-sik said on Wednesday.
Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn confirmed he will not run in the election, CNN reported.
“I have concluded that it is not appropriate for me to run in the election to maintain stable national security and manage a fair election,” Hwang said.
The special election was announced following the downfall of Park, the first female South Korean leader.
Last week, the country’s Constitutional Court upheld a parliamentary vote to impeach Park over allegations of corruption and cronyism. With the ruling, she became the country’s first democratically elected leader to be forcibly removed.
With Park’s ruling conservatives looking out of favor, it seems likely the country will turn to the left-wing opposition, which has signaled it would be likely to pursue a policy of engagement with the North.
A left-wing government would also place into question the continued deployment in South Korea of a US missile defense system, which is bitterly opposed by China.
Liberal candidate Moon Jae-in, of the opposition Democratic United Party, led opinion polls shortly after Park’s ouster was confirmed. Moon was defeated narrowly by Park in 2012.
Park’s impeachment left the country divided, with a hard core of her supporters continuing to demonstrate long after the court’s decision was announced on Friday.
Demonstrations following her removal turned violent, with three people reported killed. Park’s exit is seen as chance to reset China relations.