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Ex-pres. candidate Ahn Cheol-soo to run in by-elections

Posted March. 04, 2013 07:43,   


Former presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-soo will run in the April 24 by-elections to vie for a parliamentary seat in Seoul’s Nowon C district.

The former IT guru and Seoul National University professor left for the U.S. after voting in Korea`s presidential election Dec. 19, and has stayed in San Francisco for nearly 80 days. After returning to Korea, he will likely hold a news conference to announce whether he will resume political activity, form an opposition coalition, and establish his own party.

Since declaring his candidacy in September last year, he has repeatedly expressed his determination to lead the life of a politician, saying “I burned down the bridge that I crossed.”

Ahn`s parliamentary bid is causing a major upheaval in Korean politics. Analysts say his surprising decision means that he opted for a strategy of direct action to resume his political career.

President Park Geun-hye has a low approval rating in the 40-percent level though she was inaugurated just last week. The ruling and opposition parties continue to lock horns over deliberation of a bill to revise the Government Organization Act, inciting public criticism over lack of political capacity. As Korean politics continues to see business as usual with its practices of confrontation and conflict, analysts say the people`s hope for new politics could be directed toward Ahn.

Notably, the main opposition Democratic United Party has yet to conduct an internal reshuffle since its loss in the presidential election amid maligned efforts to evaluate its election campaign and lack of reform. So Ahn’s emergence could serve as momentum to pull politicians out of the party. A second-term party lawmaker said, “This could be considered the most powerful shock to us,” adding, “Issues such as reshuffle of the opposition party has become an imminent issue.”

If Ahn begins the process to form his own party, chances are high that the political circle will see a movement to reshuffle the political landscape.

An aide to Moon Jae-in, the former presidential candidate of the Democratic United Party, reportedly quoted Moon as saying, “We welcome it. I think he made a good decision. I hope that the opposition camp joins forces and comes up with good results in the by-elections.”