Software entrepreneur-turned-professor Ahn Cheol-soo is trying hard to make a responsible decision over whether to run in December's presidential race, his legal advisor said Friday, as the public waits to see what stance he will take.
"Ahn is thinking hard with a sense of responsibility," Keum Tae-sup said in an interview with a local radio station. "Whatever decision he makes will not be an easy one. Rather, it will be something he does responsibly because it is not a personal matter, but one that affects society as well."
The lawyer added that Ahn is taking the "changing environment" into his considerations and has not set a deadline for his decision.
"Dean Ahn said he would speak out right away once he makes up his mind and doesn't think it would be right to put it off," Keum said.
Ahn, a former medical doctor and founder of the anti-virus software firm AhnLab, is under growing pressure from both the ruling and opposition parties to be clear about his widely expected bid for the country's top political job.
The 50-year-old professor, who currently serves as dean of the Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology at Seoul National University, has a strong following especially among young Koreans, due largely to his clean and upright image.
He is also the only person at present who is neck-and-neck with the ruling Saenuri Party's presidential candidate Park Geun-hye in recent polls.
Ahn first demonstrated his political influence last October when his backing was viewed as having helped an independent candidate become mayor of Seoul.
After months of soul-searching, he strongly hinted at his presidential ambitions in a book published last month as well as during an appearance on a popular TV talk show, putting him under intense media scrutiny.
Commenting on a recent article in a local monthly news magazine that accused Ahn of lying about never having visited a hostess bar, Keum said the allegation was "too groundless and unclear to even find a way to respond."
"Dean Ahn is a good listener and sometimes changes his thoughts (depending on what others say), but he does not respond to unfair attacks against him because he is a responsible person," the lawyer said.
On the professor's inexperience in politics, which critics often cite against him, Keum said Ahn believes he should work together with other people, not alone, which could be an asset. (Yonhap)