Kim seeks to make broad appeal
Kim Doo-kwan, former governor of South Gyeongsang Province, officially announced Sunday that he would join the primary to select a presidential candidate to run in the December election on the main opposition Democratic Unified Party (DUP) ticket.
Speaking at a news conference held in the southernmost city of Haenam, South Jeolla Province, Kim, widely known as “little Roh Moo-hyun” for his similarities in family background and the path to their rise as prominent politicians, pledged to make efforts to achieve an equal society.
“Korea must be a country for people from all walks of life, not a fortress for a few privileged ones. I am confident that I can bring about reforms that the Korean people want (to realize equality).”
He also pledged, “The 25-year-old Constitution needs changes. I will compose a special committee to review the five-year single-term presidential system.”
This makes Kim the sixth presidential hopeful of the opposition party. Rep. Moon Jae-in is the frontrunner in the liberal camp; while Reps. Chung Sye-kyun, Kim Young-hwan, and Cho Kyoung-tae and Sohn Hak-kyu, former party chairman, have already declared their bids.
There may be more presidential hopefuls who will make their bids public in the coming weeks. Chung Dong-young, former presidential candidate of the liberal party, and Park Joon-young, the governor of South Jeolla Province, are expected to join the contest to earn the party’s endorsement.
The biggest unknown for the opposition party is Ahn Cheol-soo, a software mogul and professor at Seoul National University.
Ahn has been quiet about his future moves, generating much speculation. His long silence comes as a threat for the DUP, which initially welcomed him as the opposition party’s leading candidate. Moon twice invited Ahn to be his running mate, but he didn’t show any particular interest.
Now, Ahn is a target of criticism from the presidential hopefuls. “Unlike a few who happened to be a presidential candidate, I have dreamed about this for a long time,” the former Governor Kim was once quoted as saying.
Kim served as a political aide to the late President Roh Moo-hyun between 2005 and 2006. He won a seat in parliament in 2008 as an independent. In 2010, he was elected as governor of South Gyeongsang Province where he served two years until he resigned last week.
Kim will have to win a pre-primary at the end of this month in which five final candidates will be selected for the primary. The DUP will select its presidential candidate by Sept. 23, but analysts predict the date could change according to any move by Ahn.