Former four-term conservative lawmaker Yoo Seong-min reaffirmed Wednesday his intention to run for president again in 2022, dismissing speculation that he might run for Seoul mayor.
Yoo ran in the 2017 presidential election on the ticket of a now-disbanded center-right party.
Yoo said he had never considered entering the mayoral race, which will take place in April next year.
The main opposition People Power Party, to which he belongs, didn’t ask him to run for mayor, he said during a press conference at his newly launched campaign office, Hope 22, in Yeouido, Seoul.
“I have expressed my willingness to run for the presidency several times. Hope 22 was set up for that reason,” he said.
Yoo had not made a public appearance since February, when he decided not to run in this year’s general election to focus his efforts on uniting the conservative bloc.
In January he founded the eight-member New Conservative Party and merged it into the People Power Party, known at the time as the Liberty Korea Party, in a bid to form a united right-wing front ahead of the April election.
“My role after coming back to the party would be creating hope for our party to clinch victory in the Seoul and Busan mayoral elections, as well as the 2022 presidential election, by winning back the hearts of the public,” he said.
To regain support from voters, the main opposition party should apologize for the wrongdoings committed by former conservative Presidents Park Geun-hye and Lee Myung-bak, who are currently in jail for offenses including embezzlement and bribery, Yoo said.
“I think what voters want is simple things. Making a fair world by accepting sound and reformative conservative, reasonable ideas of centrists or progressives,” he said.
Voters have a great thirst for competent politics that can revive the country’s economy and security, which former conservative administrations have been incapable of, he added.
He called for fair competition with other potential presidential candidates outside the party, including Ahn Cheol-soo, head of the minor opposition People’s Party, and Hong Joon-pyo, a prominent conservative politician.
“Ahn and Hong and other people outside of the party should come together and compete against each other fiercely and fairly to become the sole candidate who represents centrists and conservatives,” he said.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org