|Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo attends a forum held by young doctors in Seoul on Sunday. (Yonhap News)|
Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo, an independent lawmaker and former presidential candidate, is pushing ahead with work to form a new political party, sources said Sunday.
“A preparatory committee to set up the new political party is likely to be formed within this month,” said a member of Ahn’s policy think tank Policy Network Tomorrow.
The team must be launched in November so that the new party could better prepare for next year’s local election in June, he said.
It was considered a matter of time before the IT entrepreneur-turned-politician began building a powerbase of his own, ever since his political debut last year and election to the National Assembly in April.
Ahn has remained an uncomfortable third political force for both the ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition Democratic Party.
Observers, however, have pointed out that Ahn has so far remained low-profile amidst intense bi-partisan political wrangling over a series of controversies including the missing presidential records and the state agencies’ alleged electioneering.
He is reportedly in the process of selecting regional staff and building a national network, a prerequisite for forming a political party. Under the law, a preparation committee, consisting of more than 200 initiators, must be formed before launching a new political party.
The former professor of Seoul National University joined last year’s presidential race as an independent candidate. Although he had no political experience or network, his popularity among young liberal voters made him a serious threat to the established parties.
Ahn, however, dropped his bid in the election to support opposition candidate Moon Jae-in, who lost to Park Geun-hye, the Saenuri candidate.
He was elected to parliament in a by-election and established Policy Network Tomorrow, the de facto base for his own political party, in June, declaring progressive liberalism as his political direction.
By Cho Chung-un (firstname.lastname@example.org)