Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon announced Monday he will run in the presidential election possibly slated for early this year.
Calling himself a "competent innovator," Park said that, if elected, he would shake up the current system and reform the government.
"I have made up my mind to answer the demand of the times," he said in a Facebook post. "The people are demanding comprehensive reform of the country. I'm sure I can be the one to clear up the existing order and introduce a new system that can benefit citizen livelihood."
Park is expected to compete in the primary race of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) with former opposition leader Moon Jae-in, who is leading opinion polls among potential presidential candidates, as well as Seongnam Mayor Lee Jae-myung and South Chungcheong Governor Ahn Hee-jung.
Considering popular support, Park has a rough road lying ahead, pundits say. His approval rating for a presidential run has been in stalemate for months at single-digit percentages.
The latest poll, conducted by Korea Research between Dec. 28 and 29 on 2,022 respondents, showed Park was placed seventh with 3.1 percent, following Moon (21.6%), former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (17.2%), Mayor Lee (12.4%), former leader of the minor opposition People's Party Ahn Cheol-soo (4.6%), Governor Ahn (4.6%), and acting president Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn (3.4%).
Without a concrete support base, Mayor Park could be in for a hard race, said Bae Jong-chan, chief director of political pollster Research and Research.
"Unfortunately, Park has had no room to grow his support within ideological, generational or regional aspects," he said.
As a Seoul mayor, Park has shown a sluggish support rate even on his own turf, Bae noted, comparing to ex-President Lee Myung-bak who won the presidency following his popular mayoral post.
Park's aides, however, show confidence in the chance of pulling up the support rate. "More people will move from an emotional to logical state in the post-impeachment stage. Once rebounding, the support rate could spike as Lee Jae-myung's did within one to two months," an aide said.
Park said earlier that he will participate in the party's primary competition while holding his mayoral post.
"Considering I have made a pledge to Seoul citizens, I see it fair that I maintain the post during the primary stage," he said in a media interview last month.
According to the Public Official Election Act, civil servants who will run for the presidential race should give up their public posts 90 days before the presidential ballot. But an election to fill a vacancy will allow them to retain the post up to 30 days before the ballot.
The Constitutional Court has reviewed the allegations leveled against President Park Geun-hye, who was impeached by the National Assembly on Dec. 9. The ruling could take upwards of 180 days but speculation is high that it could come out sooner.
The presidential election must be held within 60 days following the Constitutional Court's verdict, if it upholds impeachment.