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Electoral body removes presidential eligibility uncertainty for former U.N. chief Ban

All News 13:18 January 13, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's electoral body said Friday former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is eligible to run for president regardless of his lengthy residence outside the country.

The National Election Commission said under the current law, South Koreans who are 40 years and older and who have lived at least five years in the country before the date of an election can become a candidate.

There has been an ongoing debate as to whether Ban meets the residence status for the next presidential election. The 72-year-old has been living outside of his native country since he became the U.N. helmsman in 2007, although he did visit South Korea numerous times during his tenure.

Ban returned home Thursday after his second five-year term as the U.N. secretary-general ended at the end of last year.

The country's previous law stated that candidates must have lived in South Korea continuously for five years or more. But the commission said the amended presidential elections law of 1987 deleted such a requirement.

The commission said late former President Kim Dae-jung, who was chief executive of the country from 1998 to 2003, also lived abroad for a year between 1993 and December 1997, when the presidential election was held.

"He was not prevented from registering as a candidate," the commission said.

kdon@yna.co.kr
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