Seoul ruling party claims win

KIM YOUNG SAM, the ruling- party candidate in South Korea's presidential elections, claimed victory today and asked Koreans to work for unification with North Korea.

He was set to win this morning after establishing an unassailable lead over his nearest rival, Kim Dae Jung of the opposition Democratic Party.

With 93 per cent of all votes counted, Kim Young Sam had 42.1 per cent of the poll, while Kim Dae Jung's share of the vote was 33.9 per cent, according to the official election tally. The third main candidate, business magnate- turned-politician Chung Ju Yung, who had threatened to sap support from Kim Young Sam, did worse than expected, polling just 16.1 per cent of the vote in the preliminary results.

Almost 82 per cent of the electorate turned out to vote for South Korea's first non-military president in more than 30 years. Vote-counting was slowed by the adoption of traditional abacuses to calculate the returns, after allegations that the software of a computer counting system had been tampered with in the last presidential elections in 1987.

In a sign of how far South Korea's democracy has come since the end of military rule in 1987, the three-way race remained wide open until the very last day of campaigning, with no clear leader emerging from unofficial opinion polls.

In his five-year term, the new president will have to oversee a fundamental restructuring of the economy away from the old low- wage mass-export model. He is also likely to have to cope with the final collapse of North Korea's Communist system, with the economic, political and possibly military challenges that will bring.

The election came after 28 days of hectic campaigning across the country. The only substantive issue in the campaign was the slow- down in the economy and the role the new president should play in restoring it to health. But as the election drew closer, the candidates increasingly resorted to personal attacks on their opponents.

Kim Young Sam's campaign suffered a last-minute blow when it was revealed that government officials had plotted to boost his chances illegally in his home town of Pusan by, among other things, bribing journalists to write favourable articles about him. But he brushed off the ensuing scandal, disavowing personal responsibility and claiming it was a plot devised by his rivals to embarrass him.

The contest for the presidency had long been seen as the final showdown between Kim Young Sam, 65, and Kim Dae Jung, 67, who had both been life-long opponents to the military-controlled governments in South Korea until 1987. In that year they allowed their personal rivalry to boil over, with both running for the presidency against the military's candidate, Roh Tae Woo. They split the opposition vote, allowing Mr Roh to win the election.

In 1990, Kim Young Sam jumped the fence, joining President Roh's ruling DLP in what was seen as a manoeuvre to get the party's endorsement for the 1992 elections. Ever since he was elected to the National Assembly in 1954, his ambition has been to become president of South Korea. Until the emergence of Mr Chung in this year's campaign, Kim Young Sam had been expected to win the presidency easily.

Mr Chung's campaign, in which he promised rapid economic improvement to voters, at first made strong inroads into Kim Young Sam's support. However, Kim Young Sam, with the full weight of the ruling DLP behind him, repeatedly stressed the value of continuity to Koreans during a period of economic uncertainty.

On the eve of the vote as many as 30 per cent of the electorate had said they were undecided, and aides to Kim Young Sam had predicted that many of those last- minute doubters would play safe and vote for the ruling party's candidate.

(Photograph omitted)

View from Seoul, page 19

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With extensive experience and a...

Barnardo's: Corporate Audit and Inspection – Retail Intern (Leeds)

Unpaid - £4 lunch allowance plus travel to and from work: Barnardo's: Purpose ...

Recruitment Genius: Content Writer - Global Financial Services

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future