Former opposition leader Sohn Hak-kyu announced Thursday that he will retire from politics following his by-election defeat.
New Politics Alliance for Democracy’s senior advisor Sohn had run for Gyeonggi Province’s Suwon-C constituency in Wednesday’s parliamentary by-elections. Although he far outweighed Saenuri Party opponent Kim Yong-nam in terms of political experience, he was defeated by a margin of more than 7 percentage points.
“I was not chosen by the voters in the July 30 by-elections. I will humbly accept their will,” Sohn said, saying that he believes the election results speak for politicians. He added that the result was the voters’ assessment of his role, and reflects the people’s expectations for the opposition party and Korean politics to change.
“My stepping away now is the natural order of thing. This is so with regards to responsible politics, and to change and innovate the Democratic Party and Korean politics.”
As for his plans for the future, Sohn said that he will find ways to contribute to society without elaborating.
The former lawmaker also called on the ruling and opposition parties, and the government to exercise politics that focus on the people and their livelihoods.
Saying that the outcome of the by-elections was insufficient in terms of “setting politics right,” Sohn said that voters’ have a deep distrust of politics.
“I hope my retirement can be an opportunity for NPAD lawmakers and party members to change and make innovations with renewed determination.”
During his career, Sohn held three different parliamentary constituencies across Gyeonggi Province.
Sohn gained ground in the political arena as a conservative serving three parliamentary terms, and holding the posts of Welfare Minister and Gyeonggi Province governor under the conservative banner.
In 2007, when he was considered a potential presidential candidate for the conservative party, he turned to the progressive bloc. Sohn quickly grew within his new political home to once again become a likely presidential candidate, but lost the primaries to Rep. Moon Jae-in in 2012.
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com