South Koreans have elected Moon Jae-in as their new President on Tuesday, bringing liberals back to power on the country.

His victory caps a remarkable national drama in which a corruption scandal, mass protests and impeachment forced a South Korean president from office for the first time in almost 60 years, leaving the conservative establishment in disarray and its former leader in jail.

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The 64-year-old human rights lawyer a son of North Korean refugees, faces the challenge of enacting changes to limit the power of big business and address the abuses uncovered in his predecessor’s downfall.

He must also make good on his promise of a new approach to North Korea while balancing relations with the United States and China.

Mr. Moon has argued that Washington’s reliance on sanctions and pressure has been ineffective and that it is time to give engagement and dialogue with the North another chance, an approach favored by China. He has also called for a review of the Pentagon’s deployment of an antimissile defense system in South Korea that the Chinese government has denounced .
In a nationally televised speech before cheering supporters, Mr. Moon declared that he would “be a president for all the people.”

He said he would work with political rivals to create a country where “justice rules and common sense prevails.”

With 92 percent of the ballots counted early Wednesday, Mr. Moon was in first place with 40 percent of the vote, according to the National Election Commission.

He was followed by Hong Joon-pyo, a conservative who had pledged a tough stance against North Korea, with 25 percent, and Ahn Cheol-soo, a centrist, with 21 percent.

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