Ahn Cheol-soo Quits Main Opposition Party

      December 14, 2015 12:06

      The maverick ex-IT tycoon Ahn Cheol-soo on Sunday said he is quitting the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy.

      Ahn, who galvanized young voters with calls for a new politics but was later persuaded to join the venerable NPAD, leaves amid a deepening power struggle in the party ahead of general elections next April.

      "I have come to the conclusion that political reform is impossible from inside the party," Ahn said in a press conference at the National Assembly. He instead vowed to "create a political group that can achieve a change of government."

      Ahn Cheol-soo is surrounded by reporters at the National Assembly in Yeouido, Seoul on Sunday.

      Ahn claimed his departure signals a shift to a multi-party system rather than a splintering of the opposition bloc.

      "I failed to meet demands to reform and rejuvenate the NPAD so the people can once again trust it to wield power responsibly," Ahn said. But he added that since that cannot be achieved from within the party, a "strong force" outside the party might do the trick.

      The former computer security wiz now hopes to form a new opposition party and run for president in 2017. He is on the lookout for new allies.

      The reaction from establishment politicians was mixed. NAPD lawmakers complained that Ahn was actually helping the Saenuri Party by splitting the opposition vote. But Saenuri Party spokesman Kim Young-woo was no happier, dismissing the move as a "transparent bid for the populist vote in next year's general elections."

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