Entrepreneur-turned-professor Ahn Cheol-soo on Wednesday announced that he would run for the South Korean Presidency, turning this year's presidential race into a three-cornered contest.
"People I have met over the past months have expressed desire for political reform. Old politics should be overhauled. I'll run for President," Ahn told a crowded news conference in national capital Seoul.
The long anticipated move puts Ahn in direct challenge to the ruling Saenuri Party's presidential hopeful Park Geun-hye and Moon Jae-in of the Democratic United Party in the run-up to the December 19 presidential election, the Yonhap news agency reported.
In various opinion polls, Park and Ahn have long been running neck-and-neck in a hypothetical two-way race, while Moon, the former Chief of Staff to the late President Roh Moo-hyun, has rapidly caught up with the two recently.
Ahn avoided a direct answer to repeated questions about the possibility of merging with Moon's party for a single powerful Opposition candidacy, except saying that everything depends on the existing political parties' commitment to change and reform.
The 50-year-old founder of AhnLab, South Korea's largest anti-virus software company, said he had thought long and hard before making his decision. Ahn said he was conscious of mistakes made in the past, but he was now committed to meeting what the present times.
by RTT Staff Writer
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