Moon casts early vote for next week's general elections

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Moon casts early vote for next week's general elections


President Moon Jae-in and first lady Kim Jung-sook cast their ballots early for the general elections at a Seoul polling station on Friday. [YONHAP]

Wearing a face mask and disposable gloves, President Moon Jae-in cast his ballot Friday, as Korea began two-day early voting for the April 15 National Assembly elections that are seen as a referendum on Moon.

He voted at a polling booth inside the Samcheong-dong community service center near the Blue House in Seoul.

Moon cast his ballot early to help enhance public awareness of the elections and raise voter turnout, according to his aides.

He showed up at the center with his wife Kim Jung-sook and some senior presidential secretaries.

Moon had his temperature checked by a poll worker, got his hands disinfected and wore gloves before taking the ballot papers.

The early voting runs through 6 p.m. Saturday at 3,508 polling stations across the nation.

South Korea is the first major country to hold in-person national elections amid the coronavirus crisis. Multiple opinion polls showed that Moon's approval rating has been on the rise in recent weeks, apparently driven by the view that his government has handled the pandemic better than many other nations.

The results of the general elections, held every four years, are expected to heavily affect Moon's presidency, which is to end in May 2022.

Eligible voters will be able to cast ballots at 3,508 polling stations nationwide from 6 a.m. to 6.p.m. through Saturday, according to the National Election Commission (NEC).

Guaranteeing voter safety at polling stations has become the top priority for the NEC in preparing for the elections due to concerns that voters could be exposed to the risk of infection.

According to the NEC, in a survey of 1,500 voters, 72.7 percent of the respondents said they will definitely vote in the elections.

This represented an 8.8 percentage point rise compared with the 2016 parliamentary elections.

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