South Korea’s Liberal Democrats beat the Conservatives in special elections called after the former President, Park Geun-hye, was impeached for alleged corrupt practices.
Moon Jae-in, according to exit polls taken after the election, is on course to take 41.4% of the vote, beating his nearest challenger, conservative Hong Joon-Pyo, who raked in 23.3% of the vote.
Jae-in, speaking to supporters after he was projected the winner, pledged to be a President for all South Koreans.
“I will be president for all South Koreans,” he told cheering supporters in Gwanghwamun Square in the country’s capital of Seoul.
Jae-in is said to favour more talks with the country’s recalcitrant Northern neighbour, who usually threatens to obliterate Seoul when issues of geo political import are raised.
The BBC profiles the new President Moon Jae-in.
The son of refugees from North Korea, Mr Moon was jailed while a student in the 1970s for leading protests against military ruler Park Chung-hee – Ms Park’s father.
Later, he served in South Korea’s special forces before becoming a human rights lawyer.
He served as a senior aide to liberal President Roh Moo-hyun, who committed suicide in 2009 after leaving office amid bribery allegations.
Mr Moon, of the centre-left Democratic Party, unsuccessfully ran against Ms Park in 2012 elections.
He has positioned himself as the man who can move the country on from the scandals of Ms Park’s era.
“I feel that not only my party and myself but also the people have been more desperate for a change of government,” he said while casting his vote.