South Korean presidential election still too close to call – factors young voters, high turnout

A conservative and liberal candidate are vying to replace President Moon Jae-in.
South Korean election officials sort voting papers for ballot counting in the presidential election

South Korea's presidential election Wednesday remained too close to call, as exit polls showed the conservative candidate ahead of the liberal candidate by just 0.6%.

Turnout for the election was high as about 77% of the country's 44 million eligible voters cast ballots to select the leader of the fourth-largest economy in Asia.

From a global standpoint, South Korea's status has been on the rise, but has challenges to overcome including vast wealth gaps and a heated North Korea as a neighbor. The winner of the election will also be forced to navigate the increasingly tense relationship between the United States and China.

Voters are also looking for a leader who will be able to confront government corruption and curb North Korea's nuclear ambitions. 

Both candidates, conservative Yoon Suk-yeol, and liberal Lee Jae-myung, are vying to replace President Moon Jae-in, who must retire because of tern limits.

Polls last week delivered Yoon with the edge going into the election, suggesting that Lee has over performed expectations. 

Younger voters frustrated over housing prices, few good job opportunities and a widening income gap are reportedly expected to be the swing voters who decide the outcome of the race.