South Korean presidential candidate Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party and his wife Kim Jung-suk wave after voting for a presidential election at a junior high school in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, May 9, 2017. South Koreans voted Tuesday for a new president, with victory widely predicted for a liberal candidate who has pledged to improve ties with North Korea, re-examine a contentious U.S. missile defense shield and push sweeping economic changes. (Park Young-tae/Newsis via AP)

A 'war of regime choices': S. Koreans vote for new president

May 09, 2017 - 2:58 am

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Koreans are choosing their next president between a conservative who declared the election a "war of regime choices" and the liberal front-runner looking to overturn a decade of right-leaning rule.

Tuesday's election is the culmination of a frenzied two-month race set up by the scandal that toppled Park-Geun-hye, who is now jailed awaiting trial on corruption charges.

Liberal Moon Jae-in was the clear favorite as conservative forces struggled to regroup after Park's corruption scandal. Conservatives worry that a Moon presidency might benefit North Korea and estrange South Korea and its most important ally, the United States.

Voting stations are set to close at 8 p.m. and exit poll results are expected soon afterward.

The winner will be sworn in after the National Election Commission confirms the result early Wednesday.

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