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(2nd LD) Moon Jae-in named presidential candidate of Democratic Party

All News 20:30 April 03, 2017

(ATTN: RECASTS lead; UPDATES with more details; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, April 3 (Yonhap) -- Presidential front-runner Moon Jae-in was nominated Monday to lead the liberal Democratic Party in the upcoming 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.

Presidential front-runner Moon Jae-in of the liberal Democratic Party waves to his supporters at a party convention in Seoul, South Korea on April 3, 2017, where he was nominated the party's standard-bearer in the upcoming presidential election. (Yonhap)

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 May 9 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.

Moon Jae-in (L), presidential candidate of the liberal Democratic Party, shakes hands with his rivals in the party primary after winning the party's nomination for the upcoming presidential election in the final round of a primary held in Seoul on April 3, 2017. (Yonhap)

Speaking to party officials and supporters after his nomination, Moon said the upcoming election will mark a matchup between right and wrong, rather than conservative and liberal as previous presidential elections did.

"We must prevent the evil forces from extending their regime and turn the nation back to a country of the people," Moon said in his acceptance speech.

The upcoming election marks a rare presidential by-election, prompted by the March 10 removal of former President Park Geun-hye over a massive corruption scandal. She was arrested last week on charges including bribery, coercion and abuse of power.

Moon said he will, if elected, certainly revitalize the Korean economy, enhance national security, and eradicate "injustice, corruption and inequality."

"I am not saying we must exclude or ostracize certain persons, but that we must move toward a fair society," he said.

Along with Ahn, Moon is expected to face weaker presidential rivals already nominated by other parties including South Gyeongsang Province Gov. Hong Joon-pyo of the former ruling Liberty Korea Party, Rep. Yoo Seong-min from the conservative splinter Bareun Party and Rep. Sim Sang-jung of the minor progressive Justice Party.


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