Record overseas voters register for S.Korean presidential poll

Indo Asian News Service

Seoul, April 1 (IANS) A record number of overseas South Korean nationals have come forward to take part in the upcoming presidential election, an election watchdog said.

An initial tally showed 297,919 overseas voters registered for the May 9 presidential election, the National Election Commission (NEC) said on Friday.

The 20-day registration period came to an end on Thursday, Yonhap News Agency reported.

The number accounts for 15.1 per cent of some 1.97 million overseas South Koreans eligible to take part in presidential elections.

It marks a 33.3 per cent spike from 222,389 overseas voters who had registered to vote in the last presidential election held five years earlier, the NEC said.

Observers here noted the record number of overseas voters signing up for the upcoming presidential election indicated their keen interest in the election prompted by the ouster of President Park Geun-hye over corruption allegations.

The former president was placed under detention on Friday after a Seoul district court issued a warrant for her arrest, citing the risk of her destroying evidence regarding her 13 criminal charges that include corruption, coercion and abuse of power.

Those who have registered to vote will be allowed to do so in their host countries between April 25 and April 30.

Their sealed ballots will be shipped to South Korea by May 9 for official counting that will begin immediately after the one-day vote ends at 8 p.m., according to the NEC.

In the 2012 presidential election, 158,196 overseas voters actually cast their ballots.