South Korean police to step up security to highest level for prez polls

Seoul, March 7 (IANS): South Korean police will deploy a total of 68,786 personnel to provide security at polling and counting stations across the country during Wednesday’s presidential election, officials said Monday.

Staff will be deployed to 14,464 polling stations and 251 counting stations as police are on alert on election day for possible emergencies, Yonhap news agency said quoting the officials.

The police also plan to set up hotlines between polling stations and police stations to respond to any eventualities, and to patrol polling stations once an hour until 6 p.m. and twice an hour between 6 p.m. 7:30 p.m. when Covid-19 patients vote.

Armed police will also provide an escort for National Electoral Commission officials transporting ballot boxes to counting offices, officials said.

The upcoming election has taken the form of a two-way race between former Gyeonggi provincial governor Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party and former attorney general Yoon Suk-yeol of the main opposition party, the People Power Party.

In polls, the two have long competed on the margin of error with around 40% support each.

More than 44 million people are eligible to vote in this year’s elections.

Voting for overseas South Koreans took place over six days until Feb. 28, while sailors aboard ships voted from March 1-4.

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