Moon Jae-in has been elected as South Korea's new President ©Getty Images

South Korea, the host nation of February's Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang, has elected Moon Jae-in as the country's new President.

Organisers of the Games will hope the news ushers in a period of stability before action begins, with South Korea hit by political crisis.

Previous President Park Geun-hye was impeached following a cronyism scandal.

It centered around her links to Choi Soon-sil, her adviser, who allegedly exerted "undue influence" on policy-making, despite having no official Government role. 

Cho Yang-ho's departure as Pyeongchang 2018 President last year was linked to the crisis, with it alleged that Choi was involved.

Cho, replaced by Lee Hee-beom, said he was leaving to focus on financial issues at his Hanjin Shipping company.

In March, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said political tensions would not overshadow Pyeongchang 2018.

Former President Park Geun-hye was impeached ©Getty Images
Former President Park Geun-hye was impeached ©Getty Images

He met with the Prime Minister and acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn, and with the Speaker of the Korean National Assembly Chung Sye-kyun, during a visit to the country.

"They all assured us that whatever is happening with the campaign or with the election, the Koreans feel that these Games are a good opportunity for Korea to unite again and be united in support of their athletes," Bach said at the time.

Lee had admitted, however, that it would be easier to promote Pyeongchang 2018 with a new President in office.

Moon, a liberal candidate from the Democratic Party, has pledged greater dialogue with North Korea with tensions between the two neighbours currently high.

"I will be President for all South Koreans," he told supporters in capital Seoul.

He comfortably beat Conservative challenger Hong Joon-pyo and centrist candidate Ahn Cheol-soo as he had 40 per cent of the vote when 80 per cent of ballots had been counted.

Pyeongchang 2018, due to take place between February 9 and 25, will be the second Olympics in a row where the host country has been in political turmoil.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was also impeached prior to Rio 2016 last year, after allegations that she manipulated budget gaps.