Moon Jae-in starts presidency

Moon Jae-in on Wednesday, May 10, officially began his term as the 19th president of South Korea, after winning Tuesday’s election in a landslide victory.

The National Election Commission in the morning officially declared Moon’s win, confirming that he has clinched over 13.42 million — or 41.08 percent — of all votes. Ballot counting was completed around 7 a.m.

President Moon Jae-in speaks on the phone with Lee Sun-jin, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Wednesday at his home in Seodaemun-gu, Seoul. (Yonhap)

“This presidential election was the first-ever by-election that followed an impeachment of a president. I hope the president-elect will offer words of consolation to those who lost, and unite people across ideology, region, class and generation,” said NEC head Kim Yong-deok.

Moon, 64, officially started his five-year term as of 8:09 a.m., immediately after the election watchdog confirmed his victory during a general meeting at 8 a.m.

Hong Joon-pyo of the conservative Liberty Korea Party came in second with 7.85 million votes (24.03 percent), followed by the center-left People’s Party’s Ahn Cheol-soo with 6.99 million votes (21.41 percent).

Yoo Seong-min of the Bareun Party and Sim Sang-jeung of the Justice Party failed to secure a double-digit percentage of votes, with 2.22 million (6.76 percent) and 2.01 million (6.17 percent), respectively.

The gap between the number of votes clinched by Moon and runner-up Hong Joon-pyo was over 5.57 million votes — the widest gap for all presidential elections here.

Out of a total of 32.67 million of votes, 135,733 votes were invalid, while another 9.67 million votes were blank ballots.