Park Geun-hye, a leading presidential hopeful of the ruling Grand National Party, said Tuesday that she will run in the general election next year in her constituency in Dalseong in the southeastern city of Daegu.
“I made a promise to voters (that I will not abandon my constituency) and I intend to keep that,” she told a group of reporters in the city. She was visiting a sports stadium where an international athletic event is scheduled to take place next month.
Rep. Lee Jung-hyun of GNP, a close aide to Park, explained later that her remark was in response to speculation by her political opponents that she will give up her constituency for more the strategically important Seoul or Gyeonggi Province.
Park is the eldest daughter of Park Chung-hee, a former military ruler who was assassinated in 1979. The former GNP leader is far ahead of a pack of presidential hopefuls by a large margin in nationwide surveys. She lost to incumbent President Lee Myung-bak in the 2007 GNP race where Lee won the then-opposition party’s presidential candidacy ticket.
Park, who has kept a low profile, refrained from commenting on most pending political issues.
But asked about her role for the ruling camp in the general elections, she said: “We should first do our best to draw up campaign pledges that can win public support and then field candidates in a transparent manner.”
The remarks came after Rep. Hong Joon-pyo, the newly-elected party chairman, appointed his close confidant as the party’s secretary general who will play a key role in candidate screening, despite opposition by a group of lawmakers supportive of Park.
Hong is considered a neutral figure in the rivalry between President Lee and Park.
By Lee Sun-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)