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SEOUL, May 9 - Moon Jae-in of the liberal Minjoo Party led media exit polls in South Korea's presidential election by a large margin, an official survey from three local broadcasters showed Tuesday.
Moon came closer to becoming the country's 19th president with 41.4 percent support, beating conservative and centrist rivals by a wide margin.
Hong Joon-pyo of the conservative Liberty Korea Party, with which ousted President Park Geun-hye was affiliated, won 23.3 percent support, trailed by Ahn Cheol-soo of the centrist People's Party garnering 21.8 percent.
Yoo Seong-min of the conservative Righteous Party gained 7.1 percent support, and Sim Sang-jung of the liberal Justice Party had 5.9 percent.
The exit polls were conducted for 13 hours to 7 p.m. local time (1000 GMT) at 330 polling stations with around 89,000 voters. It has 0.8 percentage points in margin of error.
The final turnout was 77.2 percent, or 32,808,377 voters among the electorate of 42,479,710 people. It was higher than the previous election's 75.8 percent in 2012.
An early voting, which was introduced in 2013 and first applied to this year's presidential election, was conducted from May 4 to May 5. The early voting rate was 26.06 percent.
The elected president will have no 70-day transition period as it is the first by-election caused by the removal of former President Park Geun-hye from office over corruption allegations.
The election commission is forecast to declare the winner early Wednesday after completing the vote count.
(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)