After former president Park Geun-Hye’s impeachment in March, South Korea elected their new president Moon Jae-in on Tuesday, May 9.

“This is the great victory for the great people who have been with me to build a just country, united country and a country where principle and common sense works,” Moon said. “…I will be a president who also serves all the people who did not support me.”

 

South Korean President Moon Jae-In during his campaign in Goyang, South Korea. Photo by Newsweek

 

The 64-year-old liberal politician accumulated 39.36 percent of the vote followed by rivals conservative Hong Jun-pyo at 26.71 percent and centrist Ahn Cheol-soo with 21.8 percent.

According to the National Election Commission, more than 33.8 million people voted which results a turnout of 77.2 percent—the highest since 1997 when liberal President Kim Dae-jung was elected.

A former human rights lawyer and a son of North Korean refugees, Moon plans an overhaul for Seoul’s policy on North Korea.

Believing better inter-Korean relations is the best way to provide security, he expresses his intentions to reconcile with North Korea while also balancing relations with the United States and China .

“To do that, we must recognize Kim Jong-un as their ruler and as our dialogue partner,” he said. “The goal of sanctions must be to bring North Korea back to the negotiating table.”

Moon, in his campaign, included a “National Interest First” policy that struck a chord with people who want the country to stand up to powerful allies and neighbors.

The new South Korean President is expected to be sworn in for a five-year term later on Wednesday but he said he would skip the inauguration ceremony and start work straight away.