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Speculations rise on Kim Keon-hee’s official campaign debut

This photo, captured Sunday from an online fan community for Kim Keon-hee on Facebook, shows the wife of presidential nominee Yoon Suk-yeol of the main opposition People Power Party taking profile photos at a studio. (Yonhap)
This photo, captured Sunday from an online fan community for Kim Keon-hee on Facebook, shows the wife of presidential nominee Yoon Suk-yeol of the main opposition People Power Party taking profile photos at a studio. (Yonhap)
Kim Keon-hee, the wife of presidential nominee Yoon Suk-yeol of the main opposition People Power Party, may be preparing to officially join her husband’s election campaign.

Naver, one of the two largest internet portals in South Korea, on Tuesday registered an official profile page for Kim that listed her as an exhibition planner who has served as the president of Covana Contents since 2009. Four exhibitions were directed under her lead, the profile read.

Kim was also found Sunday to be taking profile pictures at a studio, wearing a beige-colored jacket and sitting next to a computer, photos posted on a Facebook fan community page for Kim showed. A lawyer who runs the page said in the post that "it’s only a matter of time for (Kim) to take the stage."

The People Power Party also told reporters Tuesday that Kim will soon deliver an official apology statement regarding the contents of the seven-hour-long phone conversation between her and a journalist. The apology is likely to be made within this week, party officials said.

The revealed phone conversation drew criticism on Kim, who was recorded making inappropriate remarks in regard to her role in the election campaign, drawing questions on her moral aptness and personal philosophies.

Yet the fan base for Yoon also saw exponential growth at the same time, with many applauding her honest remarks over politics and bold stance on some highly sensitive topics.

The main opposition party has believed that Kim’s official participation will be beneficial for Yoon in increasing his chances of victory, with some considering the the leaked recording an opportunity for her to make a formal entrance onto the political scene.

"If (Kim) is supported in public for campaign activities, I don’t think we need to be so concerned with her involvement," People Power Party Chairman Lee Jun-seok said in a radio interview last week.

"Problems could arise from delaying the activities of (Kim) as a public figure just because the attacks against her are too much."

Yoon told reporters Tuesday that Kim drafted the profile herself and that she plans to add more details to her profile later on. He declined to answer whether the profile was set up for Kim’s planned debut.

The move comes just a little more than 40 days before the election, and as Yoon’s support rating in the polls surpasses that of his rival Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea.

A Realmeter survey of 3,046 voters conducted from Jan. 16 to 21 found Yoon leading the race with 42 percent in support, up 1.4 percentage points from a week earlier. His main rival Lee was 5.2 percentage points behind at 36.8 percent, up 0.1 percentage point from the previous week.

For more information regarding the survey results, visit the National Election Survey Deliberation Commission homepage.

By Ko Jun-tae (ko.juntae@heraldcorp.com)
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