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Rep. Yoo Seung-min announces his will to run for presidency

Rep. Yoo Seung-min announces his will to run for presidency

Posted January. 27, 2017 07:02,   

Updated January. 27, 2017 07:11

Rep. Yoo Seung-min of the conservative splinter Righteous Party has made an official announcement to run for presidency, stressing his qualification as the only economic expert among potential presidential candidates.

Yoo made the announcement at the memorial hall of the National Assembly on Thursday,, saying, “The times have given us the mandate to build a just democratic republic of Korea,” proclaiming to hold accountable the heads of conglomerates who committed illegal acts. As for Rep. Moon Jae-in, former chairman of the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea, who is leading the approval ratings among the candidates, Yoo made a tart comment that during the Roh Moo-hyun administration, when Moon was serving as chief presidential secretary, the number of conglomerate chairmen who enjoyed the presidential pardon was higher than it was during the following successive governments.

On the front of national security, the front runner of the Righteous Party reaffirmed his conservative stance, announcing to establish strong deterrence and defensive capabilities including the deployment of THAAD and Kill Chain, in order to counter nuclear threats from North Korea. Experts say that Yoo’s remarks are aimed at garnering votes from more conservative constituencies by stressing his image as an exponent of strong national security while indirectly denouncing Rep. Moon, who faced trouble after shifting his stance on THAAD deployment.

Yoo also expressed his willingness to build a momentum to bring together conservative parties through a healthy competition with Ban Ki-moon, the former Secretary General of the United Nations presumed to be running for the presidential race this time. “If Mr. Ban joins forces with the alliance of conservative reformers, with the Righteous Party at the center of the effort, I am willing to compete with him squarely for party nomination,” said Yoo.

He lambasted the Saenuri Party, saying that the party would not be able to produce a candidate, and that it does not deserve the label as a conservative party. About the recent interview that President Park Geun-hye had on the previous day, Yoo said the president should have made her case before prosecutors or judges at the Constitutional Court.

Lee Hoi-chang, former chairman of the Grand National Party, also attended the announcing ceremony to endorse Yoo, calling him “the next president of South Korea.” Their relations started in 2000 when Lee, who was back then considered a shoo-in for presidency, recruited Yoo to his party for his economic expertise.

Jin-Woo Shin niceshin@donga.com