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Ahn declares bid to run for mayor

Ahn Cheol-soo, a former presidential candidate and former leader of an opposition party, announced Wednesday his bid to run in the Seoul mayoral election in June.

Ahn is currently the recruitment chief of the center-right Bareunmirae Party, which has been struggling with low support ratings and difficulties finding competent candidates to run in the local and gubernatorial elections slated for June 13.

Ahn Cheol-soo (Yonhap)
Ahn Cheol-soo (Yonhap)

“With the belief that South Korea will change when Seoul changes, I aim to give you plans to innovate Seoul City and would like to be chosen to lead the city,” Ahn said in a press meeting at the Seoul City Council.

“I remember the time just a year ago, as painful. I was surprised and touched by the passion and support you showed me. But I disappointed you,” Ahn said, referring to last year’s presidential election, in which he ranked third in the race against incumbent President Moon Jae-in and main opposition Liberty Korea Party Chairman Hong Joon-pyo.

“I also remember the fall seven years ago, when I also did not answer to the passionate calls of Seoul citizens who sought changes in the city from me. I apologize, and I will start again,” said Ahn. His bid for the mayoral position comes seven years after he gave way to incumbent Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon in 2011.

At the time, Ahn was viewed as a potential candidate for Seoul mayor, garnering a support rating of over 50 percent in polls. But he dropped out to support then-candidate Park, who won the election and is aiming for his thirdterm this year.

“The Seoul mayoral post should not be used to manage the popularity of a person for the next election,” Ahn said, referring to Mayor Park.

In his announcement, Ahn vowed to promote the city’s development by introducing new technologies that offer convenience to citizens.

“I am a politician who has successful experiences as a doctor, professor, IT expert and an entrepreneur. I will apply all of my experiences to reform Seoul City,” he said.

Ahn also said he would introduce new technologies to the management of the city and offer effective solutions to issues.

In the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, incumbent Mayor Park appears to be the prominent candidate, while Reps. Woo Sang-ho and Park Young-sun have also declared candidacies for the post. The main opposition Liberty Korea Party seeks to nominate former Gyeonggi Province Gov. Kim Moon-soo for its mayoral candidate.

By Jo He-rim (