|Kim Bu-gyeom, second from right, a campaign manager of Moon Jae-in's presidential election camp, poses with members of "Korea Vision 2050 Forum" after the Ahn Cheol-soo followers announced their support for Moon at the Democratic United Party's headquarters in Seoul, Wednesday.|
By Yi Whan-woo
Former independent presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-soo is under mounting pressure to fully endorse the remaining opposition challenger Moon Jae-in as increasing numbers of his political support base choose to back the Democratic United Party (DUP) contender.A number of organizations across the country that supported Ahn have decided to join Moon's election camp.The trend emerged Wednesday, a day after the first of three obligatory TV presidential debates took place.A number of experts said Tuesday's debate will not greatly influence the approval ratings of Park Geun-hye of the ruling Saenuri Party and Moon. Some 20 percent of the total electorate have not yet decided which candidate to vote for. They added that Ahn is the only factor that could provide a boost for Moon.Conservative Park leads her liberal rival by nearly 10 percent in some public opinion polls, while other surveys indicate a tight two-way race between the two with the Saenuri candidate taking a slight lead."Korea Vision 2050 Forum," a group comprised of 400 university professors supportive of scholar-turned-politician Ahn, announced it will endorse Moon during its press conference in Yeongdeungpo, Seoul."Political reform is only possible if Moon is elected as president and prevents conservatives from retaining the country's most powerful office," it said in a statement.A group of Jeolla Province-based research institutes named after Ahn that focus on his political policies also threw their support behind the DUP contender.In Busan, the members of "Tomorrow Forum," an organization to study Ahn's political strategies, announced they will join the DUP election campaign office in the port city where Moon served as a lawmaker.An alliance group tentatively named "The people's alliance for new government and new politics," will be launched on Thursday and is expected to attract a number of undecided voters."Every one of us, including rational conservatives, liberals, and politically-moderates should be united if we want a new government (under Moon)," said Cho Guk, a liberal law professor of Seoul National University. He will lead the group with Ahn Kyung-hwan, his colleague and a DUP election campaign official.However, some experts speculate that Ahn will not be able to influence the Dec. 19 election in favor of Moon."Ahn may be able raise the ratings by three to five percent, but that's all," said Ham Saung-duk, a political science professor at Korea University. "What is required is Moon's effort to absorb more support to beat Park."Ahn only offered lukewarm support for Moon during a campaign closure ceremony Monday.Regarding his overall stance toward the liberal candidate, he only reiterated his statement on Nov. 23 when he made a bombshell announcement to withdraw from the presidential race following disharmony between the two over talks to select a unified liberal candidate."I told my supporters to endorse Moon back then and I believe you who have made calls for political reform with me will accept my sincere heart," he said.
안 철수 前 대선후보의 지지세력들이 민주통합당 문 재인 후보 지지를 속속 선언하며 야권연대을 형성함에 따라 안 前 후보의 향방이 주목된다.
야권연대 현상은 화요일 대선 후보간 첫 TV토론 이후 두드러지고 있다.
전문가들은 TV토론이 새누리당 박 근혜 후보와 문 후보간의 지지율 차이를 줄이는 데 있어 결정적인 역할을 하지 못할 것으로 내다보고 있으며 안 前 후보의 전폭적인 지원이 변수로 작용할 것으로 내다보고 있다.
일부 여론조사에 따르면 박 후보가 문 후보를 최대 10퍼센트 이상 앞서고 있다.
수요일 문 후보 지지를 선언한 단체는 비전2050 포럼 등이다.