Cartoons race to victory in South Korean election

SEOUL Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:03am EST

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SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's rival presidential candidates danced to celebrate their respective victories across the country on Wednesday, or at least animated cartoon characters representing them did as broadcasters sought to inject life into a lackluster campaign.

Broadcaster SBS showed a grinning conservative candidate, Park Geun-hye, and her left-wing challenger, Moon Jae-in, running a marathon across South Korea, with the cartoon candidate winning the vote leading the race.

At YTN news, a cartoon caricature of the 60-year single woman Park danced ecstatically as votes falling to her came in. Moon danced less and was often pictured with hands on hips while his opponent gyrated ecstatically.

Park was leading Moon by 52 percent to 47.5 percent at 1245 GMT with more than half the votes counted.

Both of the candidates have put in wooden performances in debates, especially compared with the U.S. presidential election where Barack Obama and Mitt Romney went head to head in tense, vote-changing clashes.

South Korean television appeared to be using the cartoons to appeal to voters in the most wired country in the world, where young people are glued to their smartphones, playing animated games like "Angry Birds".

Traditionally, coverage of South Korean elections has been driven by graphics and other visuals.

SBS set its coverage of the race to a song called "Bad Case of Loving You" by Robert Palmer.

Mark MacKinnon, a correspondent for Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper, Tweeted "After watching how South Korean TV covers an election, I'll never watch CNN again".

CNN correspondent Paula Hancocks responded: "Don't worry, I'm taking notes!"

(Reporting by David Chance; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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