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Presidential election day to be held on May 9

Mar 15,2017
Korea will elect its next president on May 9, the government said Wednesday.

Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, acting president since Park Geun-hye’s presidential impeachment on Dec. 9, 2016, hosted a cabinet meeting and endorsed the plan.

Interior Minister Hong Yun-sik held a press conference and announced the date. Election day will be designated a holiday.

The Constitutional Court permanently removed Park on Friday for constitutional violations during her presidency. Under the law governing presidential impeachment and removal, a successor must be elected within 60 days of a ruling.

At the cabinet meeting, Hwang said he will not run, ending speculation that he might. His popularity has been high among conservative voters, particularly supporters of the Liberty Korea Party once headed by Park.

Earlier in the morning, Hwang hinted that he would not run. “The government will strictly manage the upcoming presidential election to ensure its transparency and fairness,” Hwang said in his speech at a ceremony in Changwon to commemorate public protests on March 15, 1960 against election irregularities attributed to then-President Syngman Rhee. Deadly clashes between protestors and police triggered nationwide protests that led to Rhee’s resignation the following month.

“The upcoming election must be the starting point for Korea’s new future,” Hwang said. “This is how we should uphold the March 15 spirit.”

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]