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Gov't close to holding presidential election on May 9: official

All Headlines 16:50 March 13, 2017

SEOUL, March 13 (Yonhap) -- The government is close to fixing the date of the presidential election to May 9, a senior official said Monday, in the wake of the ouster of President Park Geun-hye.

Park was removed from office Friday after a court ruled to uphold her impeachment over a corruption scandal.

By law, South Korea is required to hold a presidential election within 60 days.

Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn delivers a national address at the government complex in Seoul on March 10, 2017, after the Constitutional Court upheld the impeachment of then President Park Geun-hye. (Yonhap)

"As many people have been thinking, we, too, have internally chosen May 9 as the presidential election date at the working level," said a senior official of the Ministry of the Interior, which is responsible for designating the date.

"However, it needs to be discussed with the National Election Commission, and as much as it is an important matter, it has to be reported to a Cabinet meeting and go through other administrative procedures."

The law also stipulates that a presidential election must be announced at least 50 days in advance.

This leaves an 11-day window from April 29 to May 9, but many have expected the vote to fall on the last day because of a series of public holidays in the first week of May.

There is no legal requirement that an election date must be approved by the Cabinet, but the government plans to take the step considering it's an issue of importance and requires discussion on whether the date should be designated a temporary public holiday.

The government is expected to hold a Cabinet meeting this week to finalize the plan, after which Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn will announce the date.

hague@yna.co.kr
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