Korea elects conservative opposition Yoon Suk Yeol as next president

South Korea’s National Election Commission said that in a secret ballot, in a secret ballot, the opposition leader won 48.56% of the vote, higher than Mr. Lee’s 47.83 %, with 99.99% of the total votes counted.

Incumbent Moon Jae-in is not allowed to run for a second term because the presidency lasts only five years in South Korea.

In a speech at party headquarters in Seoul, Lee blamed himself for the failure.

“Korea friends, we tried our best, but we didn’t meet expectations,” he said. “I would like to apologize to the many citizens of the country who left their daily lives behind and stayed with us. Thank you for your enthusiastic devotion,” he added, according to Lee’s campaign.

“It is all due to my shortcomings. This is not your failure nor is it the failure of the Democratic Party. All responsibility lies with me,” he said.

Yoon pledged unity in his victory speech. “Now, the competition is over, and we should unite for the people and Korea,” he said, adding, “Today’s result is a victory of the greats.”

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Yoon is a political novice, having spent the last 27 years of his career as a prosecutor. He began his political career after taking on a role as chief prosecutor leading high-profile investigations into corruption scandals that plagued President Moon’s aides.

Yoon’s victory left the South Korean government in the hands of conservatives, more than five years after conservative Park Geun-hye was impeached over her own corruption scandal.

Yoon must deal with threats from North Korea, rising tensions between the US and China, and lead South Korea through the next phase of the pandemic.

Lee congratulated his opponent, “Congratulations Yoon Suk Yeol. I earnestly request the President-elect to usher in an era of unity and harmony overcoming division and conflict.”

“I still believe in our people. Our people are amazing. Even during the Covid-19 crisis, you have shown a high level of democracy with high turnout. As long as you’re there, Korea will keep moving forward, I hope Lee said.

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