The top five presidential nominees will square off in their second televised debate Wednesday night as the competition is shaping up to be a two-way race between two liberal candidates, Moon Jae-in and Ahn Cheol-soo.
Hosted by the Korea Broadcasting System, the two-hour debate will feature Moon of the liberal Democratic Party, Ahn of the center-left People's Party, Hong Joon-pyo of the conservative Liberty Korea Party, Yoo Seong-min of the splinter conservative Bareun Party and Sim Sang-jeung of the far-left Justice Party.
The participants will be asked to stand up for an unscripted session. It will be broadcast live from 10 p.m. to midnight.
It will be divided into two sessions: one on politics, diplomacy and national security and the other on educational, economic, social and cultural issues.
Participants will not be allowed to use any reference materials during their remarks, a rule that observers say is likely to add excitement and spontaneity to the high-stakes debate. They will be given 20 pieces of white paper for note talking.
The first presidential debate was held last Thursday by local broadcaster SBS and the Journalists Association of Korea. Four additional debates are scheduled to take place on Sunday, next Tuesday, next Friday, and May 2, with three hosted by the National Election Commission.
The May 9 election, triggered by the ouster of scandal-hit former President Park Geun-hye, is increasingly seen as a duel between front-runner Moon and runner-up Ahn, with their combined ratings in voter surveys reaching nearly 80 percent.(Yonhap)