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[Newsmaker] COVID-19 concealed president’s missteps: Ahn

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)


Ahn Cheol-soo, chief of the minor People’s Party, said Monday that President Moon Jae-in’s missteps have been concealed by the COVID-19 crisis, appealing to voters to support his reformative center-right party in the April 15 general elections.

Referring to a news article published by Bloomberg headlined “Virus helps bury controversy in South Korea’s pandemic election,” Ahn said the Moon administration and the Democratic Party of Korea were fortunate to rebuild public support thanks to the sacrifices of front-line medical personnel and the tragedies of other countries hit hard by the virus.

“In addition to corruption scandals involving close aides, an economic slowdown and North Korean issues, it (the government) caused a cluster transmission crisis with a delusion that the outbreak will come to an end soon in the early days of this crisis,” he said in a Facebook post.

It appears that Ahn was referring to Moon’s Feb. 13 prediction that COVID-19 would disappear from the country “before long” -- days before the number of cases exploded in the southern city of Daegu.

If not corrected through the general election, the government will continue pushing for “absurd” economic policies such as income-led growth and will continue pursuing a North Korea policy that doesn’t yield practical benefits, he added.

“The way to help the incumbent government to finish the remaining two years well is not letting them do what they want to do, but to stop them from doing what they should not do,” he said.

Nonetheless, President Moon’s approval rating last week rose to 54.4 percent, the highest in 17 months, according to Realmeter on Monday.

Ahn hopes for his People’s Party to win 20 percent of votes and secure over 10 proportional representation seats. The party has fielded no constituency candidates.

The former presidential candidate will complete a 424-kilometer run on Tuesday as part of a campaign launched April 1 to appeal to voters. The run started in the southwestern city of Yeosu, South Jeolla Province, with the politician running 30 kilometers per day toward Seoul.

Prior to the campaign, the doctor-turned-politician took part in medical volunteer work for 15 days in hardest-hit Daegu in March.

By Park Han-na (hnpark@heraldcorp.com)
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