S Korean mogul wins parliamentary seat

2013-04-25 10:09
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First female president South Korea

Park Geun-Hye is the first female President of South Korea.

Seoul - Popular South Korean software mogul and former presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-Soo has finally won elected office with a thumping by-election victory in Seoul.

Running as a liberal independent, Ahn won 60.5% of the vote against 32.8% for his ruling party rival in Wednesday's ballot for a northeastern district of the capital.

"Please watch my new start," Ahn said in a statement after his victory.

The 51-year-old had made "new politics" the buzzword of his independent campaign which enlivened last year's presidential election.

He dropped out just weeks before the 19 December vote to support the main opposition party candidate Moon Jae-In and avoid splitting the liberal vote. Moon went on to lose the ballot to the conservative Park Geun-Hye.

Acrimonious negotiations

Hugely popular among younger voters, his decision to withdraw had disappointed many seeking an alternative to the old liberal-conservative face-off between the established parties.

Negotiations between Ahn and Moon over who should step down were difficult and at times acrimonious, and Ahn's later support for Moon was seen as lacklustre.

Moon's party refrained from fielding a candidate in Wednesday's by-election in order to bolster Ahn's chances.

There has been talk of Ahn setting up his own party, but the candidate refused to be drawn on the issue after his success on Wednesday.

A survey by Gallup Korea in the first week of March showed a new party headed by Ahn would have a public approval rating of around 23%.

Read more on:    park geun-hye  |  south korea

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