Liberal politician Moon Jae-in claimed victory in South Korea’s presidential election on Tuesday, after exit polls projected a landslide victory that would end nearly a decade of conservative rule.
“I will be president for all South Koreans,” Moon,64, told cheering supporters on Gwanghwamun Square in the capital, Seoul.
“This is a great victory of great people who stayed with me to create a country of justice … where rules and common sense prevail,” the former human rights lawyer said.
With 80 percent of the votes counted at 17:05 GMT, Moon was leading with 40 percent, according to the National Election Commission.
The results were in line with an exit poll by three network television stations that showed Moon beating conservative challenger, former prosecutor Hong Joon-pyo, by 41.4 percent to 23.3 percent.
Hong and centrist challenger Ahn Cheol-soo, conceded defeat shortly after projections were reported, which paved the way for Moon to claim victory.
Final official results are expected early on Wednesday.
Moon will immediately begin his single five-year term once the results are confirmed.