Presidential front-runner Moon Jae-in won the second round of the Democratic Party primary Wednesday, seen as comfortably on his way to the nomination by the liberal party for the upcoming presidential election.
Moon garnered 47.8 percent of the votes in the second round of a four-round race to name the party's standard-bearer in the May 9 election.
The vote, held in the city of Daejeon some 160 kilometers south of Seoul, involved some 5,700 full-time party members from the central city and surrounding North and South Chungcheong provinces.
The outcome, however, included those of an earlier vote and a telephone survey involving tens of thousands of other voters in the region, including non-party members.
Presidential front-runner Moon Jae-in speaks to reporters following his victory in the second primary election of the liberal Democratic Party in Daejeon, located some 160 kilometers south of Seoul, on March 29, 2017. (Yonhap)Presidential front-runner Moon Jae-in speaks to reporters following his victory in the second primary election of the liberal Democratic Party in Daejeon, located some 160 kilometers south of Seoul, on March 29, 2017. (Yonhap)
Moon was followed by South Chungcheong Province Gov. An Hee-jung with 36.7 percent.
For An, the outcome of Wednesday's vote marked a sharp rise from 20 percent of the votes he secured in the first round of the primary held Monday in Gwangju, the party's traditional power base located some 360 kilometers southwest of Seoul.
Still, it marked a humiliating defeat for the South Chungcheong governor on his own home turf.
"I will do my best until the last round, which will be held in the capital region with more than 60 percent of the electorate," An told reporters.
For Moon, a failure to win a majority of votes may have been a disappointment.
Moon, or any of the three other contenders in the party primary, needs more than half of all votes cast in the in-house race to be named the party's presidential nominee after the fourth and last round of the primary to be held next Monday in Seoul.
The former party chief asked for greater support.
"We need an overwhelming victory in the presidential election if we are to properly reform the country and create a brand new nation following a change of power," Moon told reporters. "And the power for an overwhelming win in the presidential election will come from an overwhelming victory in the party race."
So far, Moon has 55.9 percent of all votes cast in the first two rounds of the primary. An is next with 25.8 percent, followed by Seongnam City Mayor Lee Jae-myung with 18 percent.
Lee secured 15.3 percent of the votes cast Wednesday.
Choi Sung, the mayor of Goyang City located just north of Seoul, won 0.2 percent of votes in the central Chungcheong region, following his 0.4 percent share in the first round.
Should no contender secure a majority of votes in the primary, a run-off election will be held and the party's standard-bearer will be named next Saturday. (Yonhap News)