The South Korean National Election Commission says 11 million people have cast their ballots in early voting for this week’s presidential election.
The commission said on Monday that just more than 26 per cent of the country’s 42.5 million registered voters took part in early voting Thursday and Friday.
Regular voting begins Tuesday.
The South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported that the high turnout marks a major increase compared to the country’s last general election, the newspaper reported, when early votes made up just 12.2 per cent of ballots cast.
This year is the first time early voting has been available in a presidential election.
Koreans will be voting for a replacement for former leader Park Geun Hye, who was forced to leave office in March, for her role in a corruption scandal.
The country, famed for its technological exports, faces growing youth unemployment, high rates of household debt and fear of poverty among the elderly, as well as escalating tensions with its neighbour, North Korea, about the latter’s nuclear weapons programme.
Election Day is a public holiday in Korea, meaning many people also took Monday off work, the newspaper reported.
Koreans will vote on Tuesday for their next president in an election sparked by the impeachment of Ms Park Geun Hye in March.
Park was ousted over a corruption scandal that triggered mass demonstrations by citizens angered over claims of influence-peddling and cronyism in the presidential Blue House.
Mr. Moon Jae, a former human rights lawyer from a refugee family who fought for democracy in his younger days, looks poised to win.
Opinion polls are in his favour, The Straits Times reported.
The 64-year-old candidate from the liberal Democratic Party has consistently outranked peers, scoring 42.2 per cent in the latest Realmeter survey, more than double that of his closest rivals.
Moon has promised to curb the concentration of economic power in the hands of the chaebols, the family-oriented business groups whose ties to government have been exposed in the wide-ranging scandal that saw Ms Park impeached. (NAN)