By Kim Jung-yoon
Potential presidential candidates in the opposition camp are seeking supporters as they look to decide on whether to run in the December presidential election. The moves come after a defeat in the National Assembly elections and the ambiguous silence of software mogul-turned professor Ahn Cheol-soo on his presidential ambitions. Ahn leads the liberal presidential race in various polls.
Moon Jae-in, a senior member of the main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP) who has also been leading in some opinion polls, hinted at running in the election with a support base in Busan and South Gyeongsang Province.
An aide to Moon said he feels a great deal of responsibility to boost the approval rating of the opposition with the possibility of Ahn refusing to join the DUP.
In the Assembly elections, Moon won his first parliamentary seat in the Sasang district of Busan, a conservative stronghold, on the DUP ticket, affirming his position as a viable presidential candidate.
“It is time to decide whether to make a bid for the presidency. To realize regime change, I will make a decision as soon as possible,” Moon said in a radio broadcast Wednesday.
Moon went on to emphasize the need to align with Ahn, who has remained silent on news reports earlier this week that he has decided to run.
Meanwhile another potential contender Kim Doo-gwan, also dubbed “little Roh Moo-hyun” has embarked on plans for the December election.
Kim is reported to be holding a series of events to launch a book, which will kick off in Changwon, about 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on May 26, in Gwangjoo, about 330 kilometers southwest of the capital on June 2 and in Seoul on June 15.
According to multiple sources, Kim also opened an office for his presidential campaign as well as a supporters club in a building in Yeouido, Seoul. Kim said such reports were rumors.
Kim, like the former president Roh Moo-hyun, may win support from his home town in the traditionally conservative dominant area of Gyeongsang Province.
Experts say that the DUP is targeting Kim as a possible replacement for Moon, with the opposition’s election defeat and Moon’s weakening power in Busan and South Gyeongsang Province.
Senior DUP advisor Sohn Hak-kyu is also gearing up for the presidential race by organizing a 10 day trip to five European countries including the Netherlands, Sweden, and Finland. He plans to study their labor, welfare and education policies.
Sohn is said to launch presidential campaign and publish a book about his economic policies after the DUP’s national convention slated for June 9th.
The three candidates, determined to oust the ruling Saenuri party from power, will be vying as a single candidate representing the opposition.