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2007 Presidential Dark Horse Emerges

Posted September. 18, 2006 07:05,   


Sohn Hak-gyu has turned out to be a prominent runner for the 2007 presidential race.

Sohn was ranked in third place far behind Park Geun-hye, the former chairwoman of the Grand National Party (GNP), and Lee Myung-bak, former Seoul mayor in a poll over the presidential hopefuls. As he gains popularity little by little, however, he is now being touted as a likely winner. Some say, he will be the dark-horse in the 2007`s presidential race.

Will the former Gyeonggi governor be the stake-holder in the big match? How does he himself see the situation?

Several GNP lawmakers including Nam Kyeong-phil, Chung Byeong-guk, Lim Tae-hee, Park Chan-sook, and other GNP staff members, including the chairman of the Seoul-Gyeonggi partisan`s council of the GNP, gathered for Sohn`s pre-presidential campaign called, “100 days for public support.” The campaign is unprecedented in terms of its scale, although some lawmakers and party staffs have partaken personally in some small political campaigns. In short, he is gaining more influence over the election.

His popularity rating has also risen to 5.0 percent this month from 3.0 percent last month according several recent polls. Given that his counterparts, Park and Lee, keep more than 20 percent ratings, it seems a drop in the ocean. Nevertheless, some inside and outside observers of the largest opposition party say that the whole situation would be different, if he keeps earning more support and hits even a 10 percent.

Political reporters, legislative aides, and small and middle sized business entrepreneurs designated him as the most likely presidential candidate in a poll targeted on his acquaintances. Amid controversies as to whether his political rally is a mere political show or an epoch-making political experiment, it is being applauded to hearten some voters to caste more support behind him.

Concerning his increased approval rating, an interview was made in a kimchi factory located in Wonju, Gangwon province on September 13 when his rally turned its 76th day.

Sohn said, “It is not a time to be now glad according to the poll. However, autumn brings wind and the wind may alarm the harvest season."

He answered the question as to the inner-party competition that his answer lay in his life’s journey.

He took note of what the ordinary people said to him during his rally. Sohn said, “After I worked in a mine with mine workers for 8.5 hours, they treated me differently. Working together opens people`s minds."

No reform, No power-

Concerning the GNP`s political problems, such as a series of golf sandals and a string of inner-party dissonance over pending issues, he stated, "The centerpiece to those issues is who will be the face of the GNP. It all boils down to the leadership," adding, "power comes from the people, it can not be snatched from them. When there is no political reform appealing to people`s heart, certainly, there is no power."

In regards to the appointment of the Constitutional Court`s president involving the nominee, Jeon Hyo-sook, and the wartime control transfer issue, he criticized that president Roh took national issues too personally.