According to the National Election Commission, the final turnout reached 77.2 percent. Out of 42.5 million eligible voters, 32.8 million cast their ballots.
“A large number of the electorate is believed to have had travel plans during the long holiday weekend. The rainy weather might have hampered voters heading to the polls,” said an NEC official.
Although Moon Jae-in of the liberal Democratic Party of Korea achieved a clear win, he failed to receive more than 50 percent of votes. He clinched over 13.42 million of all votes, slightly over 41 percent, which means there are more voters who did not cast their ballots for Moon than those who did.
Political pundits say this will make it difficult for Moon to push ahead with his agenda.
Although the new president is supported by the Democratic Party of Korea, which holds 119 of 300 National Assembly seats, this is not enough for Moon to push through his plans.
The gap between the number of votes won by Moon and the runner-up Hong Joon-pyo was over 5.57 million votes -- the widest gap ever for a presidential election here.
Yoo Seong-min of the conservative splinter Bareun Party and Sim Sang-jeung of the Justice Party also failed to secure a double-digit percentage of votes, with 2.22 million votes (6.76 percent) and 2.01 million votes (6.17 percent), respectively.
Political pundits said that Yoo -- who completed the race despite 12 lawmakers bolting from the Bareun Party to support another candidate -- could have proved his status as a new conservative power if he had drawn more votes.
“With the support of citizens, I was able to finish the race. I will, one day, bear fruit from this experience,” said Yoo on Tuesday night.
Despite failing to garner a double-digit percentage of votes, Sim is said to have increased her presence in political arena. She received 6.2 percentage of votes as a progressive party candidate, the highest since Kwon Young-ghil of the Democratic Labor Party recorded 3.9 percent of votes in the 2002 presidential election.
Meanwhile, the NEC said that out of a total of 32.67 million of votes, 135,733 votes were invalid, while another 9.67 million votes were blank ballots.
By Kim Da-sol (firstname.lastname@example.org)