Story highlights

Democratic Party's Moon Jae-in vows to be "president for the people"

Moon could open talks with North Korea for the first time in years

Seoul CNN  — 

South Korea’s presidential election has been won by Moon Jae-in, a liberal who favors a more open policy toward North Korea.

Moon, the Democratic Party’s candidate to replace ousted President Park Geun-hye, was declared the winner by the country’s National Election Commission. With 100% of the votes counted, Moon won with 41.08%, the commission said.

According to the commission, 13,423,800 voters selected Moon Jae-in as their preference for President.

Prior to the announcement, speaking to supporters Tuesday at a rally on Seoul’s historic Gwanghwamun Square – the site of mass protests that helped eject Park – Moon said he would be a “president for the people.”

The election of Moon, a 64-year-old former human rights lawyer, is likely to mean an overhaul for Seoul’s policy on North Korea. Unlike his hard-line conservative predecessor, he favors engagement with Pyongyang and has challenged the deployment of a controversial US missile defense system.

“This is the great victory for the great people who have been with me to build a just country, united country and a country where principle and common sense works, Moon said.

Speaking at Democratic Party headquarters following an exit poll announcement that showed him well ahead of conservative Hong Jun-pyo and centrist Ahn Cheol-soo, respectively, Moon said he was expecting a “landslide victory.” He said his win came from the “desperation of the people for a new government.”

South Korean presidential candidate Moon Jae-in reacts Tuesday in Seoul after hearing exit poll results.

‘Clean’ candidate

South Koreans were seeking to fill the void left by the impeachment of Park, who was ejected from office in March after a corruption scandal for which she’s awaiting trial.

Moon, viewed as a “clean” candidate by many voters, narrowly lost to Park in 2012.

Voters said corruption and the economy were major issues going into t