The seasoned politician and failed presidential candidate Sohn Hak-kyu announced his retirement from politics Thursday after a humiliating loss in Wednesday's by-elections.
"I am leaving politics today," Sohn said in a hastily arranged news conference at the National Assembly.
"It is my long-held belief that a politician should speak through elections. I was not chosen by voters in the July 30 by-elections and humbly accept the results."
Sohn is a four-term lawmaker who entered politics in 1993 and served as health minister, governor of Gyeonggi Province and, after defecting from the conservative camp, as head of the main opposition party.