A conservative former prosecutor declared victory in South Korea’s presidential election on Thursday after his liberal ruling party rival conceded defeat after a bitter battle in the politically divided nation.
With around 98% of the ballots counted as of 4:00 a.m., People Power Party candidate Yoon Suk Yeol won 48.59% of the votes, narrowly edging liberal rival Lee Jae-myung who garnered 47.80%.
Yeol thanked his supporters outside his home in capital Seoul after what he described as a “long night.”
He spoke shortly after Jae-myung conceded defeat during a news conference at the campaign office of his Democratic Party, where he congratulated Yeol and called for him to heal the country’s divisions.
Yeol will take office in May and serve a single five-year term as leader of the world’s 10th-largest economy, which is now grappling with stark income inequalities and soaring personal debt and facing growing threats from nuclear-armed North Korea.