Yoon Suk-yeol, a Presidential candidate of the main opposition People Power Party was elected as the 20th President of South Korea.
In the 20th Presidential election held on March 9, Yoon was elected with 48.59% and 16.04 million votes, with 98% of the votes completed at 3:50 a.m. on March 10.
Democratic Party candidate Lee Jae-myung won 47.80% and 15.78 million votes. The difference in votes is only 0.8 percentage points and 260,000 votes.
Yoon will replace President Moon Jae-in, a progressive leader whose single five-year term ends in May.
"We, the people of the Republic of Korea, are one. Regardless of region, camp or class, the people of the Republic of Korea are equal people of this nation wherever they are, and must be treated fairly," Yoon said in an address before party officials at the National Assembly.
President-elect Yoon left his home in Seocho-gu, Seoul at 3:56 a.m. on March 10 and stood in front of supporters and said, "The night was very long. I didn't know you were out like this without sleeping. Thank you so much for your support."
Afterwards, he greeted the supporters by holding their hands, boarded a prepared vehicle, and moved to the National Assembly library, where the party counting situation room was set up.
Yoon, who arrived at the ballot counting room at 4:16 that day, enjoyed the joy of winning the election by shaking hands with lawmakers and officials on duty.
He then joined hands with the lawmakers and officials of the Ahn Cheol-soo-led Peoples Party and shouted "Mansae (victory)."
Yoon said, "I deeply thank the members of the People Power Party for their hard work. I think it was a very passionate race. Through this process, I felt and learned a lot."
He then said, "I think this result is a victory for the great people rather than a victory for the People Power Party with me and Ahn Cheol-soo."
Yoon also said, "I would also like to thank the two candidates-- Lee Jae-myung of the Democratic Party and Sim Sang-jung of the Justice Party-- for playing together until the end. Although the results have not been achieved, I would like to highly appreciate the value of the fact that we have all contributed greatly to the development of politics in Korea, and I would like to give you a sincere consolation."
Yoon stressed, "I learned a lot about how to listen to people's voices and what I need to be the leader of the country during the election campaign. Everything about elections and competition is for the people.”
"Now our competition is over, and I think we should all work together to become one for the people and the Republic of Korea. Now, if I prepare for a new government and officially take office as the elected President, I will respect the spirit of the constitution, respect the parliament, and cooperate with the opposition party to serve the people well,” he said.
He also promised, "The People Power Party and the People Party will quickly conclude the merger."
Resume of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol:
President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol was born in Seoul on Feb. 3, 1961. His father, Yoon Ki-joong, is a retired educator from Daegu graduated from Yonsei University in Seoul and Hitotsubashi University in Japan who later established the Korean Statistical Society and now as a full member of the National Academy of Sciences of Korea. His mother was born in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, and was a lecturer of Ewha Woman's University in Seoul.
Yoon attended Chungam High School and studied law at Seoul National University. Shortly after the Gwangju Uprising, Yoon and his colleagues held a mock trial, where he acted as the prosecutor who demanded the death penalty for President Chun Doo-hwan. Following the mock trial, Yoon had to escape to Gangwon Province.
Yoon started his career at Daegu Public Prosecutor’s Office in 1994. He headed the Special Branch and Central Investigation Department, both investigate corruption-related cases. In 1999, he arrested an Assistant Commissioner Park Hui-won who was involved in corruption despite of strong objections from bureaucrats of the Kim Dae-jung cabinet.
In January 2002, Yoon shortly worked as a lawyer at Bae, Kim & Lee but quit as he felt he was not suitable to hold the position. He immediately returned as a prosecutor and arrested pro-Roh Moo-hyun figures i.e. Ahn Hee-jung and Kang Keum-won. In 2006, he apprehended Chung Mong-koo of Hyundai Business Group for his complicity in slush fund incident of Hyundai Motor Company. In 2008, he worked for the independent counsel team resolving BBK incident related to President Lee Myung-bak.
In 2013, Yoon led a special investigation team that looked into the National Intelligence Service's involvement in the 2012 NIS public opinion manipulation scandal. Yoon sought the prosecution of the former head of the NIS, Won Sei-hoon for violating the Public Official Election Act. He accused Justice Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn (later Prime Minister of Korea) of influencing his investigation. As a result, Yoon was demoted from the Seoul prosecutors' office to the Daegu and Daejeon High Prosecutors' Office.
Yoon later became head of investigations in the team of special prosecutor Park Young-soo which investigated the allegations of the 2016 Choi Soon-sil scandal involving Choi, Samsung Vice-chairman Lee Jae-yong and President Park Geun-hye which led to the impeachment of the President in December 2016.
On 19 May 2017, President Moon Jae-in appointed Yoon as the Chief of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office. The prosecution indicted two former presidents Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye, three former NIS chiefs, former chief justice Yang Sung-tae and more than 100 other former officials and business executives under his tenure. Yoon also led an investigation into accounting fraud at Samsung.
On June 17, 2019, Yoon was nominated as the Prosecutor General, replacing Moon Moo-il. His nomination was welcomed by the ruling Democratic Party and the Party for Democracy and Peace but was also opposed by the Liberty Korea Party and the Bareunmirae Party. A minor center-left Justice Party remained neutral. On 16 July, he was officially appointed as the new Prosecutor General and started his term 9 days later. President Moon ordered him to be neutral, adding that any kind of corruption must be strictly investigated though it is related to the government.
Yoon led investigations against the Minister of Justice Cho Kuk, who was involved in various scandals. His decision was welcomed by the opposition but was also condemned by the Democratic Party and its supporters.
After Choo Mi-ae was appointed as the new Minister of Justice, she took an action against several prosecutors who are close to Yoon. Choo blamed this decision on Yoon's failure to submit a reorganization plan for his department which she requested but this was seen as retaliation by the Blue House for Cho Kuk's prosecution.
Yoon identifies himself as "conservative" adding that he was inspired from economically liberal Milton Friedman. He seeks a gradual change rather than a radical change. A former Conservative MP, Chung Doo-un, agreed to consider him as a conservative.
Yoon is married to Mrs. Kim Kun-hui, the President of Covana Contents. She is 12 years younger than Yoon.