April 14, 2016 10:09
Maverick IT entrepreneur Ahn Cheol-soo boosted his chances in the presidential election after his People's Party took 38 seats in the general elections on Wednesday.
Ahn won his own bid for a seat in the Nowon district of Seoul and lived up to his pledge to form a formidable third force in parliament after breaking with the Minjoo Party.
The results defy skeptics who warned the split would divide and weaken the opposition vote and deliver victory by default to the Saenuri Party. Instead Ahn did well even among conservative voters tired of business as usual.
Ahn left the then New People's Alliance for Democracy on Dec. 13 last year and set up his own People's Party in January. Key NPAD politicians from North and South Jeolla provinces bolted with him, but it looked uncertain whether the new outfit would clinch the minimum 20 seats necessary to form a negotiating bloc.
In March, Kim Jong-in, who heads the now renamed Minjoo Party, proposed joining forces with the People's Party. Key members Kim Han-gil and Chun Jeong-bae agreed while Ahn refused, resulting in a major crisis for the fledgling party.
The People's Party's strong showing in the Minjoo Party's Jeolla stronghold proves Ahn right.
But the Minjoo Party fared unexpectedly well in the Seoul metropolitan region, representing a formidable challenge for Ahn, who is now likely to be up against former Minjoo chief Moon Jae-in in the presidential race.
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