Ahn Cheol-soo moves closer to presidential bid
Potential presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-soo has brought in Yoo Min-young, a former presidential press secretary to be his spokesman, widely seen as a sign he will run for office in December.
Ahn, a software mogul-turned professor, considered the most promising possible contender in the liberal camp, has not yet clarified his intentions.
Amid mounting speculation over Ahn’s next move, the 50- year-old offered Yoo the job to become his stand-in speaker.
Yoo served as a presidential press secretary during the late former President Roh Moo-hyun administration and as a press officer for his presidential campaign team.
“I decided to accept Ahn’s offer after meeting with him about two months ago.
As there are a flood of reports and much speculation irrelevant to Ahn’s intentions, I felt that I needed to inform him of his official position,” said Yoo about the decision in an interview Friday.
When asked whether Ahn was moving his presidential bid up a gear he refused to answer, saying Ahn has not mentioned it.
“With the growing interest in Ahn’s presidential bid, he has been in need of a media chief to deal with the press,” an official from AhnLab, the potential candidate’s software company, said Friday.
Nevertheless, the move is being commonly interpreted that he might accept the proposal of lawmaker-elect Moon Jae-in of the main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP) to establish an alliance, given that Yoo and Moon are close allies within the pro-Roh group.
Moon, a senior advisor to the DUP, has been seeking to form a coalition with the popular entrepreneur to field him as the single candidate for the opposition camp and to form a joint government if he wins the election.
Moon, the likeliest frontrunner for the DUP, has reportedly been under considerable pressure due to his declining popularity and cautious character.
Ahn is considered the only candidate who could compete against the ruling Saenuri Party’s Park Geun-hye, an undisputable presidential hopeful.
If Ahn aligns with Moon, many predict that the situation will become similar to the election of incumbent Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon. Park, who was on an independent ticket, became the only candidate on behalf of the opposition camp defeating then DUP candidate Rep. Park Young-sun. Park later entered the DUP after winning the election.
A DUP official said that Ahn is likely to announce his presidential ambition in a lecture at Busan National University on Wednesday.
“The fact that Ahn assigned Yoo as a spokesman signals his intention to start managing political messages in earnest,” said an anonymous DUP official.