UPDATE : 2018.4.20 FRI 16:41
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Key presidential candidates stage last minute efforts to woo support

South Korea's leading presidential candidates continued to remain vigilant Monday, crisscrossing the country in last minute efforts to rally support.

Their official 22-day campaigning period was set to end at midnight, and the top five candidates seemed intent on living the last day of their campaigning to its fullest.

Front-runner Moon Jae-in of the liberal Democratic Party was set to make a full round trip to the country's second-largest city, Busan, and return to Seoul to finish his campaigning.

Presidential front-runner Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party (L) rallies support while staging an election campaign in his political hometown of Gwangju, located some 330 kilometers south of Seoul, on May 7, 2017.

Busan, a port city located 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul, apparently holds the most swing votes for the liberal candidate as it is considered the traditional home of conservatives.

The 64-year-old was also scheduled to make brief stops in Daegu, another stronghold of conservative parties, located 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, and Cheongju, a city located in the central North Chungcheong Province, according to party officials.

Hong Joon-pyo, the leading conservative candidate from the Liberty Korea Party, was expected to defend his power base, also traveling to Busan and Daegu before making a brief stop in Cheonan in South Chungcheong Province.

His last stop, too, will be in the capital. He plans to visit the college district of Hongdae in the northwestern part of Seoul, where he was expected to wrap up his final campaigning at midnight.

Hong Joon-pyo (R), the presidential candidate of the conservative Liberty Korea Party, shakes hands with supporters while visiting the southeastern city of Ulsan on May 7, 2017.

Ahn Cheol-soo of the center-left People's Party was focusing his last minute efforts on Daejeon and the Chungcheong provinces in the central region that are often considered swing states in elections.

He was set to visit Daejeon, located some 150 kilometers south of Seoul, and other parts of the central provinces.

Ahn had maintained a strong second place in most polls up until the very last minute when he appeared to have been overtaken by the conservative candidate.

The last poll on the presidential election published Wednesday had Ahn and Hong tied at 18.6 percent. Moon was in the lead with 42.4 percent. The publication of new opinion polls has been prohibited since.

Ahn Cheol-soo (R), the presidential candidate of the People's Party, shakes hands with a merchant at a traditional marketplace in Garak-dong, Seoul, on May 8, 2017.

Sim Sang-jeung, the most progressive among the five leading candidates, planned to set a fresh, and possibly an unprecedented record, staging a speech marathon with her supporters in Seoul's bustling college district of Shinchon.

The Justice Party candidate has named it a "filibuster" stumping that will start at noon and last 12 hours.

Yoo Seong-min of the splinter conservative Bareun Party planned to begin his day in Daejeon. He, too, planned to finish in the capital, canvassing through the streets of Seoul until the very last minute, his party said.

Voting will begin at 6 a.m. Tuesday and end at 8 p.m.

The National Election Commission has said a winner will likely emerge around 3 a.m. the next day, while the official declaration of the winner is expected to be made after 8 a.m. (Yonhap)

Sean Kim  edt@koreapost.com

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