Former main opposition party leader Sohn Hak-kyu said Saturday he will not run in April's parliamentary elections, indicating he will instead focus on his presidential bid later this year.
Sohn, 64, stepped down as chairman of the then Democratic Party (DP) last month to pave the way for the launch of the Democratic United Party (DUP), a merger of the DP and the minor opposition People's Participation Party. The move was aimed at boosting liberals' chances in April's general elections.
Speaking to reporters while climbing a mountain with more than 500 of his supporters in this southern city of Gwangju, the former chairman said he believes his mission is to support his party's candidates in districts previously dominated by the ruling Grand National Party.
"I will do my best to ensure (the DUP's) success in the general elections," he said. "I am certain that the DUP will win in April's elections, but an election is not an easy matter, especially in the capital area. I will give my full support."
Sohn also indicated that he is preparing to run in the presidential race in December, saying he won't have much time to represent his district of Bundang, south of Seoul, even if he is reelected in the general elections.
When asked about his sluggish approval ratings as a presidential candidate, he said, "I don't like to put forward plans or strategies in doing politics. I will do my best."
Sohn's previous bid to become a presidential candidate in 2007 came to an end after his defeat in a DP primary election. (Yonhap News)