The race to become Korea’s next president is now in full swing, with software tycoon-turned-professor Ahn Cheol-soo formally announcing his presidential bid, exactly 3 months before the elections. Ahn, who has no political background of affiliation, will now enter into a fierce and unprecedented battle to claim residency in the Blue House, against Park Geun-hye of the scandal-ridden Saenuri Party and the soaring popularity of Moon Jae-in of the Democratic United Party (DUP). Ahn is considerably popular among the youths, and evidence of his influence was significant when he backed Park Won-soon in last year’s Seoul mayoral elections, who subsequently won.
Ahn made his announcement at a much anticipated news conference yesterday at 3PM KST. Shortly past the hour, Ahn asserted ‘Old politics should be overhauled. I’ll run for president,’ sending shockwaves across the Korean Internet. Within moments, all portal sites when inundated with tens upon thousands of comments from netizens excited at the prospect of ‘new politics’ governing the Korean nation.
From Yonhap News:
Ahn Cheol-soo ‘I Will Put The People’s Desires Into Practice’..Announces Presidential Candidacy
‘Only when politics changes, so will our lives..I will set out to unite politics’
‘I am willing to take on the times of today and handle the job that’s been entrusted to me.’
Ahn Cheol-Soo, Dean of Seoul National University‘s Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology, officially announced his intention to run in the upcoming presidential election on September 19th, saying ‘I will run in the 18th presidential election and endeavor to become the person capable of carrying out the passions of the people.’
During a press conference in the Salvation Army Art Hall in Seodaemun, Ahn said ‘The people I’ve met have expressed the desire for political reform.’
He stressed that ‘To reach the decision to possibly take the responsibility of managing a nation, I had to take everything into account,’ and ‘Now I am willing to take on the times of today and handle the job that’s been entrusted to me.’
Ahn also mentioned what he has heard through meeting people [he said he would decide whether to run for office after hearing public opinions]: ‘Politics shouldn’t be like this, we want to do it in different way’. And he asserted that political reforms have to start from the onset of the election.
He criticised both the liberals and conservatives, saying ‘It would be hypocritical to call for unity, whilst turning half of the population into enemies. If we do not stop this ugly politics, full of false propaganda and endless fights, people will get even more divided.’
He promised to reform the election process, saying ‘If we keep on going like this, the next five years are going to be full of hatred and polarization. Then whoever the next president might be, we will have to forget the idea of social unity and just solve imminent social issues.’
He then made a proposal to the two candidates, Rep. Park Geun-hye (Saenuri Party) and Rep. Moon Jae-in (Democratic United Party), to announce a public promise to pursue fair and square competition for policies.
Prof Ahn also stressed that ‘If I get elected after this policy competition, I will pick the best of all: if their policies are better than mine, I will accept them and listen. This is what Koreans want, adding politics, united politics.’
To concerns about his lack of political experience, he said, ‘I do not have any political experience, connections, or groups. But I also do not have any debts to pay,’ and ‘I will carry what I have heard from people in my heart. And I will never, ever reduce public seats to political war prizes.’
He pledged that ‘What it takes to change the world is a genuine heart. I will show you the politics of a genuine heart,’ and ‘If I have to fight for the better future, I will fight fairly.’
He pleaded for support, saying ‘Only when politics changes, our lives can change; the key to change is in your hands. Please work with me.’
Comments from Nate:
Raise your hand if you got goosebumps when Prof. Ahn officially announced that he will run for presidential??!
My heart is pounding with joy… We haven’t seen any clean politicians for quite a long time, but we’re finally getting one.
You’ve made a big decision. And after thinking deeply about this election, I’ve decided to support you, whatever the result might be. I’m so moved by his speech and I hope he’ll change Korean politics.
Oh this is good. Hey Ahn Cheol-soo supporters, start gathering some votes! ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke ke
Seriously,,,,, It makes me get goosebumps just listening to his speech. His integrity, modesty, respectful and non-divisive attitude toward Koreans.. He’s really different from normal politicians..
Here we go, we’re gonna see the bombardment of ‘negative campaigning’ from now on. Of course, it’ll start with the conservative newspapers. All hell will break loose.. Ahn, just hang in there..
I’m just reading the full transcript of his speech.. and why is my heart racing and tears pouring down my face ㅡㅡ;;;;
Politicians are talking down on him for his lack of experience.. Wake up, politicians! You’re not exactly in a position to blindly dismiss him. You guys seriously have to think hard about how Ahn ended up becoming so popular: Koreans are sick and tired of you ‘seasoned politicians.’ Been there, done that. You guys have only focused on lining your pockets and peddling influence. In my opinion, he can’t do worse than you guys.
Wow~~ I got goosebumps when I heard the news~ Please become the president of the Republic of Korea~!!
When he announced he would run I couldn’t help myself from bursting out in applause.
A beautiful decision. I support you Ahn Cheol-Soo. You speak for the future of South Korea, you with the beautiful name that is Ahn Cheol-Soo.
Just the right vote! Pick a person who is a person. Am tired of all those beasts of incompetence, coup d’etats, corruption, cash-cars and corrupt private education [there were scandals with the Grand National Party, previous name of the Saenuri Party, where large companies such as LG were found to have literally stuffed cars with banknotes worth millions to help with the party’s lobbying, officials then driving off with the stashes of cash]
It will be difficult if Moon Jae-In and Ahn Cheol-Soo split the vote… they should agree on a single candidate…
I’m scared you get battered. I can see you are entering the dirty world of politics..
I will always support you. Mr Ahn Cheol-soo, fighting^^
Please do your best. I back you.
Comments from Daum:
Finally [put your bid forward]. I will support you!
I’ve been waiting for this…^^* Ahn Cheol-soo’s name will start the Republic of Korea afresh!!!
Chairman Ahn Cheol-soo~ Welcome.. This shows your authenticity in thinking of the people~
I must participate in the voting process~~~~~~mussst~~~~~~
Comments from Naver:
Upvote this comment for those who will vote for Ahn
Who cares if he does not have political experience, it will still be better than what we have now, fighting!
I believe in Ahn. He turned down a blank cheque. I think you don’t have to be a seasoned politician just to do politics well.
This is a good news. Ahn will at least listen to the voice of the average citizens.
Finally a proper president to go down in Korea’s history
He owes nothing to anyone, that really touches me.
Upvote this comment for Ahn, downvote for Park
I support you!!!!!!
Ahn all the way, don’t even think about the others!
Better than Park Geun-hye. I really have to vote this time.
Let’s vote! Mr. Cheol-soo!
Park Geun-hye has no business being president. Her being the daughter of a dictator suits her! Game over, Long Live Charles I! [Charles sounds like Cheol-soo in Korean]
This is my first time to write a comment. It is a bit of a late announcement but I’m sure you thought this over very long and hard. I support you wholeheartedly.
I don’t expect anything else. Just make me rich.
We must pick him. Please don’t let this country go down!!
Probably better than President Lee
A president is made by citizens. I will cast my one vote for President Ahn.