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South Koreans begin early voting to choose president

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Staff Writer | May 4, 2017
Hundreds of thousands are casting their ballots in early voting for the presidential election, less than a month after the former head of state, Park Geun-hye, was ousted over corruption allegations.
South Korea elections
Korea   The two-day early election started at 06:00
More than 3,500 polling stations, across the country and overseas, opened on Thursday morning, with the National Election Commission (NEC) saying over one million voters had cast their ballots as of 10:30 a.m. local time.

The presidential election has been scheduled for May 9, but according to the early voting system introduced in 2014, voters in South Korea are able to take part in the election in advance for the first time.

The two-day early election started at 06:00 a.m. on Thursday and ends at 06:00 p.m. on Friday. There is a 12-hour overnight break starting from 6 p.m. on Thursday.

The early voting system was introduced with the aim of raising the overall turnout by about four percentage points, according to the election commission. NEC officials hope that 15 percent of over 42.4 million eligible voters cast their ballots during the two-day early election.

According to the NEC, all ballots cast on Thursday and Friday will be kept sealed along with those locked overseas until the end of the presidential election on Tuesday, when all votes are to be officially counted.

Currently, 13 hopefuls are competing with each other for the presidential office.