A Korean-Bolivian pastor will run for president of Bolivia as an opposition Christian Democratic Party (PCD) candidate, media in the South American country reported Wednesday (local time). Chung Chi-hyun, 49, is the first person of South Korean descent to run for president in a foreign country.
According to Bolivian daily La Razón, the PDC made an official announcement that Chung is the party’s candidate in the country’s presidential election in October. Chung has secured his candidacy by submitting registration documents.
Born in South Korea, Chung immigrated to Bolivia at age 12 with his Christian missionary parents. After studying medicine, he has been working as a surgeon and a pastor. He was naturalized to Bolivia in 1999 and is currently serving as chairman of the General Assembly of The United Presbyterian Church in America.
In an interview with BBC, Chung said he was motivated to run for president because the incumbent administration, which has been in power for the 13th year, tries to turn Bolivia into a “communist system like North Korea.” He said he would launch a campaign based on the spirit of cooperation, diligence and self-reliance that turned South Korea into an economic power. He argued that the combination of Bolivia’s rich natural resources and the South Korean spirit will turn the South American country into an advanced economy in a short period of time.
The Bolivian presidential election is scheduled for October 20. Evo Morales, the incumbent president, is seeking a fourth term in office.