Lee Myung-bak wins South Korean presidency

Thursday, December 20, 2007

South Korea's new president-elect, Lee Myung-bak, seen here on June 24, 2005 at the Cheonggyecheon restoration site.
Image: Erik Möller.

Lee Myung-bak has won the presidential election in South Korea. According to the National Election Commission, Lee of the Grand National Party won 48.6% of the vote. Chung Dong-young of the United New Democratic Party came in second with 26.2%. These results are with 98% of the ballots counted.

President of South Korea Roh Moo-hyun was not in the election as the presidency is a single five-year term with no eligibility for re-election. Lee is scheduled to take office on February 25, 2008.

For the first time in South Korea's history, a president-elect is facing an investigation by a prosecutor. Lee, former Hyundai executive, could face charges of fraud stemming from his alleged involvement in a financial scam in 2001. Lee denies the charges, but the investigation is unlikely to conclude before the inauguration.

"I will serve the people in a very humble way. According to the people's wishes, I will save the nation's economy that faces a crisis," Lee Myung-bak said in a televised news-conference.

Chung Dong-young conceded defeat "I accept what the people decided today." He told Reuters, "I hope president-elect Lee Myung-bak will lead the country well."