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Rep. Hong Joon-pyo declares presidential bid

Posted August. 18, 2021 08:42,   

Updated August. 18, 2021 08:42


Rep. Hong Joon-pyo of the main opposition People Power Party (PPP) announced his presidential bid on Tuesday, saying a novice cannot manage a country. This is his second presidential bid following 2017.

The five-term lawmaker held a virtual press conference at his camp office in Seoul on Friday to announce his bid to run in next year’s presidential election. Rep. Hong expressed his desperation to run for presidency for the last time in his political career. “I will give every ounce of my soul to take back power with a determination to return the country’s favor,” he said.

“When it comes to presidency, cramming will not work,” said Rep. Hong, who had served as the chairman and the floor leader of the Hannara Party (currently PPP), and governor of South Gyeongsang Province, targeting former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl and former Board of Audit Inspection Chair Choi Jae-hyung, his rivals within the party. He stressed that rich experience in state affairs and strong leadership is more important than anything else in order to deal with the current ruling party, which has taken over 180 seats in the National Assembly, even after taking back power. In particular, he aimed at Yoon, saying it will be difficult for a person, who has only worked for the prosecution for 26 years, to assume the role of president. He went on to insist that only a “detect-free” candidate will be able to achieve a victory for the opposition bloc, pointing out that the former Prosecutor General has recently been embroiled in various rumors. “My family and I have been thoroughly validated by the administration and the people during the course of my political career,” he said. “No further validation is required.”

Along with the announcement of his presidential bid, Rep. Hong presented seven major tasks for the normalization of the country and reform of state affairs, including implementing a four-year two term presidential system for the 2024 presidential election, introducing “a quarter price apartments,” abolishing law schools and bringing back bar exams, abolishing the Senior Civil Servant Corruption Investigation unit and establishing Korean-style Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and privatizing KBS and MBC. Rep. Hong also criticized the Moon Jae-in administration for supporting populist policies, saying, “Korea can’t be the country that cuts open the belly of a goose with the golden eggs as if there is no tomorrow and hands over debt to young people and future generations.” Targeting Gyeonggi Gov. Lee Jae-myung, who is a leading contender in the ruling Democratic Party, Rep. Hong said Lee does not have the personality to become a president.

Kyung-Suk Kang coolup@donga.com