The graft prosecutor turned opposition leader, Yoon Suk-yeol, won a tight presidential election in South Korea on Thursday, reinstating conservatives to power with calls for a tougher and more confrontational stance on North Korea and a stronger alliance with the United States.
Mr. Yoon’s progressive rival, Lee Jae-myung of the governing Democratic Party, conceded defeat just before 4 a.m. Thursday. At the time, 98 percent of the votes had been counted and Mr. Yoon, of the conservative opposition People Power Party, was leading by a margin of 263,000 votes, according to the tally provided by the National Election Commission.
Mr. Yoon replaces President Moon Jae-in, a progressive leader whose single five-year term ends in May. His victory returns conservatives to power after five years in the political wilderness. His People Power Party had been in disarray following the impeachment of its former boss, ex-President Park Geun-hye, who was convicted of corruption.
Mr. Yoon, an anti-corruption crusader who helped imprison Ms. Park, was recruited by the party to engineer a conservative revival. Washington and South Korea’s neighbors closely watched the election because Mr. Yoon’s election could potentially upend Mr. Moon’s progressive agenda, especially his trademark policy of seeking dialogue and peace with North Korea.
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