Sohn triggers opposition primary
By Kang Hyun-kyung
Sohn Hak-kyu, former governor of Gyeonggi Province from 2002 to 2006, declared Thursday he will run in the main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP) presidential primary.
The announcement comes days before Reps. Chung Sye-kyun and Moon Jae-in, are due to declare their bids.
Sohn, 65, characterized himself as a trusty candidate who cares about the livelihoods of ordinary people and prioritizes unity as his number one value.
“I’d like to be a dependable president who can make citizens feel comfortable and unite the people by solving problems that have divided the nation and caused rifts,” he said during a news conference at a make-shift outdoor stage in Gwanghwamun Plaza, Seoul. “Democracy, bread-and-butter issues and unity are the three core values on which I will make priorities, (if elected president).”
Ten lawmakers and numerous supporters attended the press conference to show their support for the veteran politician.
Sohn, unsuccessful in the liberal party’s 2007 primary, became the first big-name politician in the opposition camp to make his presidential bid official.
Moon, former presidential chief of staff under the late Roh Moo-hyun government, is set to announce he will run for president on Sunday.
Although he has yet to make his bid official, Moon has recently indicated a keen interest in the top job. “I think I am the only candidate in the opposition camp who can make government change (from the Saenuri Party to the opposition) possible,” he said in a speech at a DUP event on Tuesday.
As a presidential candidate, Moon said he has an edge over Ahn Cheol-soo, a software mogul-turned-professor and speculated to be another potential candidate, saying he has a solid support base in the party and among liberal voters.
“If the DUP is united, I believe (my support base) will be even stronger,” he said.
A speech is being prepared for the news conference declaring his bid. His aides declined to give details of what message will be delivered but said Moon will present himself in a very different manner.
Chung, a former DUP leader, is scheduled to hold a press conference on June 24 to make his presidential bid public.
South Gyeongsang Province Governor Kim Doo-kwan, will also join the competition but it is not known when. He is called “little Roh” for he has a lot of similarities with the late President in terms of a poor childhood and family background. But some speculate he could officially announce his presidential ambition in July when he will be halfway through his term as governor.