SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean liberal human rights lawyer Moon Jae-in won the presidency in an election on Tuesday, exit polls showed, ending nine years of conservative rule.
Moon, will aim to move quickly to fill cabinet jobs in the absence of the typical transition period after the ouster of his predecessor, Park Geun-hye, in March over a corruption scandal.
Following are likely contenders, in alphabetical order, for some of the main jobs Moon will be filling.
AN HEE-JUNG, 52, governor of South Chungcheong Province.
An competed against Moon in the Democratic Party’s primary. A former aide to a liberal president, Roh Moo-hyun, for whom Moon also served in various capacities, An is in his second term as governor of one of the key swing provinces in the presidential election.
Seen by supporters as a young reformer and “Obama of South Korea”, An is considered sharp on policy but his lack of experience working in parliament is considered a weakness.
HONG SEOK-HYUN, 67, former chairman of JoongAng Ilbo newspaper, JTBC TV station.
Hong was the head of one of the most influential conservative newspapers as well as the cable TV network that broke major stories about the graft scandal that led to the ouster and arrest of Park Geun-hye. He is also the brother-in-law of Samsung Group patriarch Lee Kun-hee.
Hong told media he met Moon last month to discuss the possibility of a major role in government. There had been speculation Hong himself would run for president.
He was appointed by former President Roh Moo-hyun, Moon’s political mentor, as ambassador to the United States in 2005. But he stepped down after less than a year after being implicated in a scandal over Samsung Group political slush funds.
JEON YUN-CHURL, 77, former deputy prime minister, chief of staff to former President Kim Dae-jung.
Jeon, who has spent more than 40 years as a public servant, was one of the first heavyweights recruited by Moon for his campaign. He is from South Jeolla Province, a Democratic Party stronghold.
A graduate of Seoul National University, Jeon served both liberal and conservative presidents in a variety of roles including as chairman of the antitrust regulator and head of the Board of Audit and Inspection of Korea.
CHO YOON-JE, 65, former presidential economic adviser.
Cho, an economic adviser in Moon’s camp, held posts at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He holds a Ph.D in economics from Stanford University and is said to favour centrist, market-centered economic policies.
Cho was appointed by former President Roh Moo-hyun ambassador to Britain after serving as an economic adviser in Roh’s office.
KIM KWANG-DOO, 69, professor emeritus, Sogang University.
Kim, an economic policy adviser to Moon, was also an economic policy architect for former President Park and served as head of a policy think-tank that formed in 2010 to help Park’s run for president. He is seen as a possible finance minister or prime minister.
A graduate of Sogang University who has a Ph.D in economics from the University of Hawaii, Kim has never held any minister-level jobs.
Kim told Reuters in an interview in April he wanted to take a supporting role behind the scenes, suggesting he did not plan to take a cabinet post or hold a senior position in the presidential office.
BAEK GUN-KI, 67, former lawmaker, retired general.
Baek, a graduate of the Korea Military Academy, served for more than 30 years in the army and was a four-star general during the Roh Moo-hyun administration.
He later became a lawmaker and has emerged as a key security policy figure for the Democratic Party. He stood for election to parliament in 2016 but lost out to a conservative candidate.
SONG YOUNG-MOO, 68, former navy chief of staff.
Song, who served in the navy for more than three decades, has been a main security adviser for Moon in the this campaign as well as Moon’s 2012 presidential campaign.
A decorated veteran, Song took part in a 2009 skirmish between North and South Korean naval vessels off the western coast of the Korean peninsula and was later awarded the Chungmu Order of Military Merit.
CHO BYUNG-JAE, 60, former ambassador to Malaysia and Myanmar.
Cho, an adviser to Moon on foreign policy and security, was a career diplomat who served as ambassador to Myanmar and Malaysia before joining Moon’s camp.
A graduate of the Seoul National University, Cho was the lead negotiator for South Korea during 2008 negotiations with the United States on cost-sharing support for U.S. forces stationed in South Korea.
CHUNG EUI-YONG, 71, former lawmaker, former head of the South Korean mission in Geneva.
Chung, who leads a team of Moon’s foreign policy advisers, is a career diplomat who held senior roles in the United States and Israel, as well as stints at the International Labour Organization and an intellectual property council under the World Trade Organization.
Chung also served a term as a lawmaker, from 2004 to 2008.
KIM KI-JUNG, 61, dean, Yonsei University Graduate School of Public Administration.
Kim, a career academic hailed by media as Moon’s “foreign policy brain”, Kim has been appearing at public events to explain Moon’s foreign and security policies.
Kim, who graduated from Yonsei and holds a Ph.D in political science from the University of Connecticut, has not held public office.
Graphic: S.Korea's presidential election tmsnrt.rs/2p0AyLf
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Election demographics tmsnrt.rs/2pGD25v
Reporting by Se Young Lee; Editing by Robert Birsel