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Ex-Labor Activist To Run For South Korean Presidency

Promising creation of more jobs and narrowing the gap between haves and have-nots, Kim Moon-soo, Governor of South Korea's most populous province of Gyeonggi, on Sunday announced his decision to run for the country's presidency in the year-end elections.

Announcing his presidential candidacy at the National Assembly, Kim said he would build a "great Republic of Korea." He is the first in the Saenuri Party to announce a bid to compete in the ruling party's presidential primary.

"Today, I announce my decision to run for the presidential election," Kim told a news conference later, and expressed his intention to focus on creating more jobs, narrowing the gap between haves and have-nots, and unifying the divided society.

Kim, a former labor activist who took up the Governor post in 2006, has reportedly demanded a revision of the party's primary rules to better reflect the opinions of ordinary citizens, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

Amid overwhelming support for Saenuri leader Park Geun-hye, 61-year-old Kim has been one of the potential presidential hopefuls among the ruling bloc, along with veteran lawmaker Chung Mong-joon, son of the founder of the Hyundai conglomerate, and Lee Jae-oh, a close confidant to incumbent President Lee Myung-bak.

The National Election Commission has notified that presidential hopefuls can formally declare their candidacy starting this week, eight months before the December 19 presidential elections.

Chung and Lee Jae-oh are expected to declare their presidential candidacy late this month or early next month, while a number of others, including former Prime Minister Chung Un-chan, are also said to be interested in running for the presidency.

In an opinion poll of potential presidential hopefuls conducted by pollster Realmeter on April 12-13, Park garnered 42.5 percent against Chung Mong-joon's 1.8 percent and Kim's 1.5 percent.

Chief of the Saenuri Party and leading presidential hopeful, Park this month had won a morale-boosting victory in the parliamentary elections, largely seen as a bellwether for the presidential vote.

The Saenuri Party is scheduled to hold a national convention on May 15 to elect new leadership before finalizing the procedures and schedule for its presidential primary.

President Lee's single five-year term ends in February next year, and he is barred by law from seeking re-election.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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