02/09/2015, 00.00
SOUTH KOREA
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S Korea's opposition picks Catholic Moon Jae-in as its new leader

Moon ran against President Park in 2012, losing by a few points. After a period of reflection, he is getting back into the fray at the helm of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy, the main opposition force. For analyst, if Moon does well in upcoming parliamentary elections, he could make a bid for the presidency in 2017.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - The New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) elected Moon Jae-in, 62, as its new chairperson yesterday. The new leader, a Catholic, was a contender in the December 2012 presidential race against current President Park Geun-hye.

After losing by a few points, he had announced that he was withdrawing from public life to reflect upon his future. Now as the new leader of the opposition, he might run for president in 2017.

Moon, who garnered 45.3 per cent of the vote during the NPAD's national convention, said in his acceptance speech that "Party members voted for change and I will carry out this grave mission. [. . .] I will wage an all-out war against the government of President Park Geun-hye if it continues to ruin democracy and the livelihoods of the people".

In the wake of his victory, he called for party unity. Park Jie-won, former chief of staff for the late President Kim Dae-jung, won 41.78 per cent of the votes.

His base is in the Democratic United Party and he tried to turn the primary into a referendum on the political style to be used against Park.

Moon instead based his campaign on South Korea's future, not only on opposition to the government.

Bae Jong-chan, director of political pollster Research and Research, said that Moon can expand his influence ahead of the general elections in 2016. At present, the NAPD has 130 seats in the 295-member National Assembly. If this happens, Moon, he said, could run for the presidency in 2017.

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