Published : 2013-12-08 20:01
Updated : 2013-12-08 20:01
Former presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-soo on Sunday named a preparatory committee for his new party to challenge what he calls corrupt, incompetent and antagonistic politics.
The independent lawmaker also indicated that his colleagues would contest nationwide local elections scheduled for next June.
In a news conference, Ahn unveiled the four co-leaders ― a former science minister, a civic activist, a veteran politician and a former Hyundai Motor chief executive.
They will lead the creation of Ahn’s new political party which analysts expect to pose a strong challenge to the domination of two major parties.
In the coming weeks, the panel will hold public policy debates and recruit talented individuals to build up the organization, it said.
“We are looking for new members to join our team. I will find and enlist the help of those who have strived to change people’s lives for the better,” said Ahn.
Ahn is currently the frontrunner among potential opposition presidential candidates.
The former software mogul and business professor dropped out of the 2012 presidential race in support of the main opposition Democratic Party candidate Moon Jae-in.
If established before the June 2014 provincial elections, Ahn’s new party is expected to cause a stir in the political landscape by taking voters from both the ruling Saenuri Party and the DP.
According to a November poll by Gallup Korea, Ahn’s hypothetical party would score a 26 percent approval rating, cutting the DP’s rating to 11 percentage points and robbing the Saenuri Party of 12 percent of its followers.
In such a scenario, the ruling Saenuri Party’s approval rating would stumble to 35 percent from its current 43.
The preparatory committee will be collectively led by Park Ho-koon, the former minister of science and technology in the Roh Moo-hyun administration; Kim Hyo-seok, the former floor leader of the main opposition Democratic Party; Lee Kye-ahn, a former head of the Hyundai Motor Co. and Assembly member; and Yoon Jang-hyun, a medical doctor and former chief of the Korea YMCA.
Ahn also appointed independent lawmaker Rep. Song Ho-chang, formerly affiliated with the DP, to lead the public relations team, and lawyer Geum Tae-seop as committee spokesman.
The Saenuri Party expressed its skepticism over Ahn’s political move.
“Rep. Ahn has been calling out for ‘new politics’ ever since last year’s presidential elections. We have still not seen what that new politics exactly is,” said Saenuri Party spokesperson Rep. Yoo Il-ho. “We hope the new faction is not a congregation of ostracized political aspirants.”
The DP officially voiced a willingness to collaborate, but concerns are growing within the party that his new group would split opposition votes in upcoming elections.
“We strongly believe the people of this country do not want any division in the political coalition fighting against the multiple government institutions that interfered in last year’s presidential elections,” said DP spokesperson Park Yong-jin. “The Democratic Party and Rep. Ahn’s following will work together, through innovative competition if you will, to create a new paradigm in politics.”