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Zilan Huang,

Editor (Asia – Far East)

 

SEOUL –  On Friday, independent presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-soo has announced his abrupt withdrawal from the 2012 presidential campaign.

“I am giving up my presidential candidacy,” Ahn said in a news conference in Seoul, “From now on, Moon Jae-in is the single liberal candidate. Although my dream for new politics will be delayed for a while, Ahn Cheol-soo is really longing for a new era and new politics” . A teary-eyed Ahn said that he will “serve in a war as a commoner” to create ‘new politics’ and asked his supporters to rally around Moon, calling him “the opposition camp’s single presidential candidate”.

In the event of a three-way race, the ruling Saenuri Party’s presidential candidate, Park Geun-hye, enjoys strong support from Conservatives and the older generation, especially since she is the daughter of the late authoritarian President Park Chung-hee. On the other hand, the two liberals-  Ahn Cheol-soo and Moon Jae-i –  had been under intense pressure from their supporters and the liberal civic society to make concessions in their single candidacy negotiations. They need to stop splitting the opposition vote in order to defeat the conservative front-runner Park in the December 2012 Presidential elections.

Now, in the event of a two-way race, ruling Saenuri Party candidate, Park Geun-hye, and main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP) candidate, Moon Jae-in, are in the presidential race in earnest, as support rates for the two candidates are close. Voters must now choose  between the conservative or liberal parties, which ultimately will be a choice between industrialization and democracy.

 

Image Courtesy: Jinho Jung (Wiki Commons) Released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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