An unofficial count of ballots in the South Korean election indicates that Kim Dae-jung - a veteran opposition leader - has won the presidency and the daunting job of restoring the economy.
The apparent victory by Kim, 73, marks the first time an opposition candidate has prevailed over the cliques that have ruled South Korea since its founding in 1948.
For so long of his 43 year career as an opposition leader, Kim Dae-jung has been known as "The Outsider."
But no longer.
The 73-year-old head of the National Congress for New Politics takes up the nation's highest office in February - making him the first president chosen from an opposition party since the nation was formed in 1948.
His success comes after four tries at the South Korean presidency
In the 1992 presidential election, Kim vowed it was his last time out, but he returned to the political fray this year.
In the past month, South Korea's 44 (m) million people watched in dismay and shock as their nation tumbled from its rank as the world's 11th largest economy.
Restoring the economy will be the new president's chief job - a task which Kim has acknowledged but offered few details on how he would do it.
Nonetheless his course of action has already largely been set by the International Monetary Fund.
In return for its record 57 (b) billion U-S dollar loan, South Korea agreed this month to slow economic growth and raise taxes and interest rates - measures that could cost up to
a (m) million jobs.
Yet despite the I-M-F bailout, turmoil continued to plague the South Korean financial markets as doubts persisted over whether any of the candidates would have the political will to take on the establishment.
Kim - as the key opposition figure - has appeared the most willing to overhaul an economic system dominated by the conglomerates - known as chaebols.
Among the more notable economic reform policies Kim supports include: a massive deregulation of the chaebols; greater accountability for mismanagement; and enhancing central bank independence.
Recently, however, he's tried to modify his image as radical reformer and declared himself a convert to free market liberalism and the virtues of big business.
Kim is as a former leader of the pro-democracy struggle in South Korea, who survived years in prison and exile and assassination attempts by former military dictators.
In 1982, he was nearly hanged by General Chun Doo Hwan's military regime on false charges of provoking a violent pro-democratic uprising in the southwestern city of Kwangju.
Nine years earlier, he survived an attempt by South Korean secret agents to drown him at sea.