The Straits Times
Published on Nov 25, 2012

S. Korea's presidential hopefuls in tight race after independent candidate pulls out


SEOUL (AFP) - South Korea's two main presidential hopefuls are running neck and neck with the election barely a month away, the latest polls showed after a popular independent candidate bowed out of the race.

The polls suggested a tight race between the ruling conservative and the liberal oppositions after Mr Ahn Cheol Soo, a left-leaning software mogul with no party affiliation, left the campaign in a bid to consolidate liberal votes.

A poll conducted on Saturday by JoongAng Ilbo newspaper showed the ruling New Frontier Party's Ms Park Geun Hye with 44.7 per cent support, marginally ahead of Mr Moon Jae In's 41.3 per cent.

The survey was held after Mr Ahn - who enjoyed huge popularity among young and some previously undecided voters - announced his departure on Friday and threw his support behind Mr Moon from the liberal opposition Democratic United Party.