February 14, 2022 12:40
Perpetual presidential hopeful Ahn Cheol-soo of the People's Party on Sunday proposed to rival Yoon Suk-yeol of the main opposition People Power Party fielding a single opposition candidate in the presidential election.
"We must walk the path of unifying the people," Ahn said in a YouTube stream and proposed choosing the single candidate through a public opinion poll.
Yoon said he is "positively" considering the offer but added that it "leaves something to be desired," suggesting he disagrees with the method.
Ahn made the proposal after registering his candidacy with the National Election Commission earlier in the day. "I hope we can achieve a change in leadership for the better and end old-style politics," he said.
Yoon told reporters, "I agree with Ahn's proposal to achieve a change of leadership. I will think positively about it, but it leaves something to be desired." Yoon would apparently prefer negotiations between the candidates’ camps to an opinion poll.
The two sides are expected to hold talks after official campaigning starts on Tuesday. Ahn is unlikely to be the chosen candidate, so the question is essentially whether his party will back Yoon or not, and at what price.
If the two fail to strike a deal, polls show Yoon and ruling Democratic Party of Korea presidential hopeful Lee Jae-myung continuing neck-and-neck amid general apathy about the lackluster candidates.
A Realmeter poll on Feb. 6-11 showed Yoon with 41.6 percent support, Lee with 39.1 percent and Ahn with 7.7 percent, while a Southern Post poll on Feb. 12 showed Yoon with 35.5 percent, Lee with 35 percent and Ahn with 7.2 percent support.
Supposing the opposition parties pool resources, that would give them a solid advantage over the ruling camp, but it depends whether centrists can be won over to the PPP, which is still tainted by memories of the disastrous Park Geun-hye administration.
Meanwhile, Yoon telephoned Ahn on Sunday and offered his sympathies after his wife, Seoul National University professor Kim Mi-kyung, tested positive for COVID-19.
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