South Korea’s presidential campaign for the May 9 elections, following the removal of former President Park Geun-hye, started on Monday with opposition Democratic Party’s Moon Jae-in leading the polls. In total, 15 politicians have officially registered as candidates for the presidency and will participate in this 22-day election campaign, which will conclude on May 8, Efe news reported. Moon, a candidate from the Democratic Party, which currently has the most seats in the South Korean parliament, is the favourite to become the new head of state, following Park’s dismissal on March 10. Park was remanded on March 31 for her ties to a massive corruption scandal, while the Prosecutor’s Office is expected to file charges against her later on Monday.
As a result, the campaign will focus almost exclusively on the fight against corruption as well as on the limitation of the power of “Chaebol” (South Korean large business conglomerates), most of which are involved in the corruption scandal. Among the other main candidates are Ahn Cheol-soo, from the centre-to-left Popular Party; Hong Joon-pyo, from the conservative Korea Freedom Party (Park’s party), and Yoo Seong-min, from the conservative Bareun Party, a faction that split from Korea Freedom Party in the wake of Park’s corruption scandal.
Many analysts see these elections as a clear race between two contenders, Moon and Ahn, who, between them, garner some 80 per cent of voting intentions, according to the latest polls. Moon, who was defeated by Park in the 2012 presidential elections, has led the polls from the start, although last week his lead over Ahn has reduced to only three percentage points, according to some estimates.