Moon Jae-in has today been declared the next president of South Korea.
The Democratic Party of Korea candidate won 41.1% of the vote according to the country’s National Election Commission. All of the votes have now been counted.
Moon saw off Hong Jun-pyo and Ahn Cheol-soo – the Liberty Party and People’s Party candidates – whose shares of the vote were a little more than 24% and 21% respectively.
Initial estimates put voter turnout at around 77%.
“I will hold hands with all people and move forward to make a new Republic of Korea,” Moon told jubilant supporters at a park in Seoul following his victory.
“I hope today becomes the day to open the door for a new Republic of Korea,” said the new president.
Moon succeeds former president Park Geun-hye who was forced from office in March and jailed following a corruption scandal and amid accusations of her being involved in cult-like activities.
Some conservatives in Korea worry that the country’s new president, Moon, will be too soft on North Korea and that his appointment might harm relations with the US.
Moon has called for a review of the decision to allow the deployment within South Korea of the US military’s anti-ballistic missile defence system – the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System, or simply THAAD. The defence system’s deployment is seen by Moon as a strain on the country’s relationship with China, who have denounced it on the grounds that it threatens their own military operations.
In March, Geng Shuang, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, told reporters that “China’s position on THAAD is very clear. We are firmly opposed to the deployment of THAAD. This position is very firm.”
Korean Won Still in the 1130s, Little Changed Following Election Result
There were no large gyrations in the Korean currency today, despite the country’s election.
Although down slightly on the day, the story is generally the same for the USD/KRW exchange rate, which remains inside a well-trodden range between 1130 and 1140 – a range in which the pair has been trapped, for the most part, for the past ten trading days.
The USD/KRW exchange rate has, like so many other financial markets, been starved of volatility in recent weeks. On Monday, the most recognized gauge of financial market volatility, the CBOE’s VIX index, fell to 9.77 – its lowest level in 24-years. The VIX did recover slightly by the end of yesterday’s session but it remains close to multi-decade lows.
As of 05:15 GMT, May-10, with the exchange rate at 1133.47, USD/KRW has fallen 6.5% since highs established in early January and remains within the lowest third of its Sepember-16 to January-17 range.
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