SEOUL, July 12 (Yonhap) -- Ahn Cheol-soo, a former candidate for the Seoul mayorship, said Thursday he will leave the political scene for a while following his party's crushing defeat in last month's local elections.
Ahn of the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party ranked third in the race on June 13, throwing into question his political path. Current Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon won the election.
"I am leaving the political scene to spend time soul-searching," Ahn said in a press conference. "By working as a politician for five years and nine months, I did my best for the multiparty system, but there were many things that were not satisfactory."
Ahn said he will move to Germany to have time for reflection and learning.
"I don't know what lies at the end (of this road). But I will watch how the world is responding to challenges and changes, and ponder what is the right direction to move forward," he added.
Ahn has recently returned home after a U.S. trip that he took after his defeat in the Seoul mayoral election.
His party won no seats in the 17 big-city mayoral and gubernatorial races, and also failed to secure a parliamentary post in the by-elections held at the same time.
Ahn, a doctor-turned-computer expert, gained popularity among young Koreans when he entered politics in 2011 with a relatively clean image.
He was a front-runner ahead of the 2011 by-election for Seoul mayor but later dropped his bid and supported Park.
But public support for Ahn has been on the wane, apparently because he has failed to usher in an era of new politics as he earlier promised.
Health product retailer emerging as new coronavirus cluster in Seoul
(2nd LD) N. Korea vows to abolish inter-Korean liaison office in anger over leaflets
(4th LD) Virus fight still dogged by cluster infections ahead of further school reopenings
Military admits security failure over illegal Chinese entrants on small boats