Five-term lawmaker Rep. Hong Joon-pyo of the main opposition People Power Party announces his bid for presidency at an office in Seoul on Aug. 17, 2021. (Yonhap)
Rep. Hong Joon-pyo, a five-term lawmaker of the main opposition People Power Party (PPP), officially announced Tuesday he will run in the presidential election slated for March.
Hong, who lost the 2017 election against President Moon Jae-in, held an online press conference announcing his second bid for the presidency, in which he pledged to "correct the nation heading in the wrong direction."
The former prosecutor-turned-politician presented a vision in which South Korea wins respect as an advanced country by becoming a "proud member" of the Group of Seven industrialized nations and becoming a wealthy state.
Hong also blasted the Moon administration for its "populist" welfare programs, warning against creating massive government-driven debt and handing it over to future generations.
He insisted that only a "defect-free" candidate can secure a victory for the opposition bloc, in an apparent swipe ex-Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl, the leading opposition presidential contender, who has made a series of blundered statements in the past weeks, and other potential primary rivals within the party.
"Throughout my past political career, myself and my family have been thoroughly validated by the administration and the public," Hong said, insisting that he is the most well-prepared and reliable presidential candidate.
Hong defected from the main opposition party, then named the United Future Party, in March last year in protest against its decision to disqualify him from running for the 2020 parliamentary election on the party's ticket. He won a parliamentary seat representing a constituency in Daegu as an independent.
He was admitted back to the PPP in June via a unanimous decision by the party's supreme council. (Yonhap)