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(LEAD) Moon Jae-in named presidential candidate of Democratic Party

All Headlines 19:54 April 03, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES with additional information, minor changes in paras 2-5)

SEOUL, April 3 (Yonhap) -- Presidential front-runner Moon Jae-in was nominated Monday to lead the liberal Democratic Party in the May 9 presidential election after making a clear sweep of all four rounds in the party primary.

The former chief of the nation's largest party won 57 percent of some 1.4 million votes cast in the primary held over the past eight days, according to the party.

He avoided a run-off by scoring a majority of ballots cast in the primary. Otherwise his rivals could have teamed up to challenge him in an additional round of voting.

South Chungcheong Province Gov. An Hee-jung finished second with 21.5 percent of the vote, followed by Seongnam City Mayor Lee Jae-myung with 21.2 percent. The in-house race also involved Goyang City Mayor Choi Sung.

Moon, a former human rights lawyer and chief aide to the late former President Roh Moo-hyun, calls for the restoration of inter-Korean dialogue and cooperation and expanded government spending for the welfare of low-income citizens.

With his nomination, the stage is nearly set for the presidential election with only the People's Party still to choose a candidate.

The center-left party is set to wrap up its primary on Tuesday, when its co-founder and former chief Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo was widely expected to emerge as the winner.

The former ruling Liberty Korea Party has named South Gyeongsang Province Gov. Hong Joon-pyo as its standard-bearer. The conservative splinter Bareun Party has picked Rep. Yoo Seong-min as its candidate. Rep. Sim Sang-jung has been nominated for the minor progressive Justice Party.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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