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Ahn Cheol-soo says unifying candidacies with main opposition party 'impossible'

All News 09:23 November 03, 2021

SEOUL, Nov. 3 (Yonhap) -- Ahn Cheol-soo, the presidential candidate of the minor opposition People's Party, has said he has no interest in unifying candidacies with the main opposition party, calling it an "impossible" deal.

Ahn said, however, that if the main opposition People Power Party (PPP) yields to him, he will achieve a change of government in the upcoming presidential election in March as the single unified candidate.

Ahn Cheol-soo, the leader and presidential candidate of the People's Party, speaks to Yonhap News Agency at the party's headquarters in Seoul on Nov. 2, 2021. (Yonhap)

Ahn Cheol-soo, the leader and presidential candidate of the People's Party, speaks to Yonhap News Agency at the party's headquarters in Seoul on Nov. 2, 2021. (Yonhap)

"I have no other thoughts at the moment," Ahn said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency at his party's headquarters in Seoul on Tuesday, a day after he declared his third presidential run.

"I have entered the presidential race in order to win and achieve a change of government," he said.

Ahn, who is also the leader of his party, said unifying candidacies with the PPP before the election will be "impossible."

"Our merger talks have already broken down, and it's not like we can ask our party members to vote (on the issue) during the course of the presidential race," he said, referring to an earlier failed attempt to merge his party with the PPP.

Ahn's decision to enter the race immediately raised questions about whether he will unify candidacies because he is sure to split the opposition vote.

With Ahn's entry, the election is shaping up to be a four-way race with Lee Jae-myung, the nominee of the ruling Democratic Party, whoever wins the PPP's nomination Friday, and Rep. Sim Sang-jeung of the minor progressive opposition Justice Party.

"If I drop out, and it becomes a one-on-one match between the ruling and main opposition parties, (the PPP) won't be able to change regimes based on its current abilities," he continued. "I'm the only candidate who can change regimes and eras."

Asked what he would do if the eventual PPP nominee proposed unifying candidacies, he replied, "If they yield to me, I can achieve everything."

Still, the candidate made clear that the overarching goal is a change of government, saying the Moon Jae-in administration has destroyed democracy, ruined the economy, poorly handled COVID-19 vaccines and demonstrated its hypocritical "naeronambul" nature, which translates to "If I do it, it's called romance. If others do it, it's called an extramarital affair."

Lee, the DP presidential nominee, is "even worse," he said, referring to allegations the former governor of Gyeonggi Province was involved in a massive development corruption scandal.

On the PPP's candidates, Ahn said, "All discourse about the future has been lost, and there are numerous suspicions about ethical issues.

"No one on either side (of the aisle) can possibly be entrusted with the Republic of Korea for the next five years, both in terms of morals and competence."

hague@yna.co.kr
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