12/04/2012, 00.00
SOUTH KOREA

Presidential election: Ahn tells supporters to "vote for Moon"

Joseph Yun Li-sun
Former independent candidate makes first public appearance since pulling out, says he will build his "new politics" after the 19 December vote. Current President Lee Myung-bak hopes to see the election of conservative Park Geun-hye.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - Former independent candidate Ahn Cheol-soo made his first public appearance since he withdrew from the presidential race ten days ago in order to call on his supporters to back his former rival Democratic United Party (DUP) candidate Moon Jae-in. Both had decided to run but Ahn pulled out on 23 November. In an attempt to squash rumours that the two had a falling out, he said, "Please accept my wishes with a big heart and back Moon."

On 19 December, South Korea goes to the polls to choose a new president. The current tenant of the 'Blue House,' conservative Lee Myung-bak, hopes to see Park Geun-hye, running under the banner of Saenuri Party, as his successor. Ms Park is the daughter of the late dictator Park Chung-hee and is backed by big money and staunchly pro-business and anti-North Korea groups.

Her main adversary is Moon Jae-in, running for the Democratic United Party. He is a former chief of staff of former President Roh Moo-hyun. A practicing Catholic, he can count on the almost unanimous support of the Korean Church and more moderate groups in society.

Surveys currently favour Park but things can change rapidly, as the executive secretary of the Bishops' Conference recently told AsiaNews.

Now Anh's renewed support has moved his voters (about 7 per cent of the electorate) to the Moon camp. However, the Information Technology tycoon hinted at plans for his own political future after this election.

"The election campaign has taken a step backwards. There isn't any signs of the hunger for a new politics," he said. The latter will have to wait for after the vote.

 

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