South Korea’s Moon Jae-in has pledged to push for reform and national unity if he’s confirmed as president.
Exit polls show the liberal candidate is poised to beat his conservative challenger Hoon Joon-pyo by 41.4 to 23.3 percent; a result that would end a decade of conservative rule.
The election follows months of political turmoil stemming from a parliamentary vote in December to impeach former president Park Geun-hye over an extensive corruption scandal.
Moon, whose campaign promises include a “National Interest First” policy, has struck a chord with people who want the country to stand up to powerful allies and neighbours.
In a book published in January he wrote that Seoul should learn to say “no to America”. However, he’s called for dialogue with North Korea to ease rising tensions over its nuclear and missile programme.
On Tuesday during a YouTube live stream Moon said South Korea should take on a more active diplomatic role to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear threat and not watch idly as the United States and China talk to each other.
Moon, who’s 64, is expected to be sworn in on Wednesday after official results are released.