2017 South Korean presidential election

South Korean presidential election, 2017

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 Moon Jae-in June 2018.jpgShinzō Abe and Hong Jun-pyo at the Japanese Prime Minister's Office (cropped 2).jpgAhn Cheol-Soo cropped (cropped).jpg
NomineeMoon Jae-inHong Jun-pyoAhn Cheol-soo
PartyDemocraticLiberty KoreaPeople's
Popular vote13,423,8007,852,8496,998,342

South Korean presidential election 2017 (upper level).svg
Results by province and city

– Moon Jae-in

– Hong Jun-pyo

President before election

Hwang Kyo-ahn

Elected President

Moon Jae-in

Emblem of South Korea.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Republic of Korea

The 19th South Korean presidential election was held on 9 May 2017, after the impeachment and dismissal of Park Geun-hye.[1] The election was conducted in a single round on a first-past-the-post basis.

The election was originally scheduled to be held on 20 December 2017, but was moved earlier after the decision of the Constitutional Court on 10 March 2017 to uphold the parliament's impeachment of Park Geun-hye. Following prcedures set out in the Constitution of South Korea, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn succeeded Park as the acting president. After Park was removed from the office by the Constitutional Court's ruling, acting president Hwang indicated he would not run for a term in his own right.[2][3][4]

Opinion polling before April consistently placed the Democratic Party's candidate, Moon Jae-in, runner-up in the 2012 election, as the front-runner. Second place in the opinion polls was initially held by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who declined to run in February, followed by Ahn Hee-jung, whilst he lost the Democratic primaries to Moon. Support for People's Party founder Ahn Cheol-soo then surged, threatening Moon's lead in the polls throughout early April, before descending to approximately equal that of Liberty Korea Party's candidate, Hong Jun-pyo, in final polls.

Unlike the previous presidential elections, the new president-elect assumed the office immediately upon the confirmation of results by the National Election Commission, with the inauguration at the National Assembly on the same day.


Park Geun-hye of the conservative Saenuri Party (renamed just prior to the election in February 2017 as the Liberty Korea Party) won the previous presidential election in 2012, succeeding Lee Myung-bak of the same party.

The Saenuri Party lost the parliamentary election in April 2016, with opposition parties including liberal Democratic Party of Korea and People's Party winning a majority in the National Assembly. Commentators described the result as leaving Park a lame duck president, as she may not run again under South Korea's one-term presidency rule.[5][6][7] and the Nikkei Asian Review noted that, in the wake of her "crushing defeat", "rivals sense a prime opportunity to complete the power shift in the December 2017 presidential vote".[5] The Korea Times stated: "The drama of deals and power struggles for next year's election has already begun."[8]

Impeachment of President Park Geun-hye

On 9 December 2016, President Park was impeached by the National Assembly by a vote of 234 for and 56 against (with seven invalid votes and two abstentions) after her implication in the 2016 South Korean political scandal. The Constitutional Court reviewed the motion of impeachment.

On 10 March 2017, Park was formally removed from office, with a unanimous ruling by all eight of the Constitutional Court's justices supporting her impeachment. A presidential election would have to be held within 60 days. In the interim, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn succeeded Park and served out the remainder of the 18th term until election day.[9]

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