Seoul (The Korea Herald/ANN) - Polling booths throughout South Korea saw a steady stream of voters, all hoping for a different kind of politician, despite Wednesday's wet start.
Voters were looking for character more than the same old campaign pledges.
"Everyone wants someone who works hard and is capable but I think more than anything we need someone who has good intentions," said 22-year-old Kim Min-young.
"I don't want change in a specific direction per se, but I feel as though the politicians bicker too much, I would rather like to see them work harder to understand the people," said Kim, a political science major.
In the weeks up to the race, rival parties struggled to win over voters by attacking each other over the government's alleged illicit surveillance of civilians and other issues.
But such incessant partisan fighting has made voters like Kim wonder whether the parties are sincere about their mantra of economic stabilization and improved welfare of citizens.
And there were those that wanted change in policies across all spectrums.
"There are people who have worked very hard to develop the country to what it is now, but now is the time for politicians to think about the future generations and give them hope," said 37-year-old Park Sang-wan.
"I want the next politician to care more about welfare for senior citizens," said one 76-year-old.
"When my friends and I talk, we all agree that we don't want to be a burden to our children, and that is why we hope the next candidate would focus a little more on elderly pensions and welfare," he said.
And it was for these changes that citizens all over the nation lined up to practice their right to vote.
From the parcel delivery man voting en route to white collar workers arriving in foreign SUVs, voters from all walks of life came to the polls for one of the most competitive races in years.
"Like anything will change," laughed a 70-year-old retiree hitting the poll booth on his way to go hiking.
"But you still have to vote to choose the best one out of the three," he said, adding that he has never missed a chance to vote.
A recent government survey showed that more than 58 per cent of the public said they would "definitely" vote in the general election.
According to political analysts, younger people have emerged as a key electorate group, after years of being neglected by political parties because of their low turnout in past elections.
"A lot of my friends are coming out to vote and from what I and my friends have discussed, it is because young people can no longer tolerate what is going on through apathy," said Kim.
"Up until now, the older generations were a bit more active in political elections but now the younger generations like those in their 20s and 30s are going out to vote as well," said Park.
"I think this election is a very important opportunity to show what citizens want in this election," said Shin Su-jeong, a 32-year-old office worker in Busan.