Ahn Cheol-soo, founder of the Bareunmirae Party and former presidential contender, said Sunday that he will challenge Korean politics, characterized by idealistic rivalries and partisan strife, with a new centrist political movement.
Upon his arrival from Canada, Ahn pledged, in front of hundreds of his supporters at the Incheon International Airport, a practical and realistic political vision to better the livelihood of the people.
“I will take the lead in correcting the current government’s wrong policies and blocking the its state affairs congestion,” he said, taking a jab at the liberal administration led by President Moon Jae-in.
“What I mean by saying practical is refusing obsession with idealistic thinking and resolving problems and focusing on making changes for the world.”
His comeback came amid growing calls for an alternative political force to challenge the traditional left-right rivalry.
He ruled out the possibility of joining forces with the conservatives -- namely the main conservative opposition Liberty Korea Party and the minor New Conservative Party -- which have started discussions on a possible integration to unite against the liberals, ahead of the April general election.
“I’m not interested,” he said.
“Unfairness tramples on the people’s hopes for a better and happier life. We shouldn’t neglect unfairness in this society,” he added.
Ahn also made clear that he won’t run for the April general election.
The comeback will also mark his return to politics after a hiatus of a year and four months ever since his defeat in the Seoul mayoral election in 2018. For over a year, he was a visiting professor in Germany and the US.
In a letter to readers of his new book, which will hit the shelves next week, Ahn expressed his desire to reshape politics.
“As a doctor I caught a live virus, and I caught a computer virus (at an IT security firm). Now I’m catching the virus of old-style politics,” he wrote.
Before diving into politics, Ahn was better known as a medical doctor-turned-entrepreneur, developer of computer virus vaccines and celebrity mentor to young people -- until he announced his aspirations for the 2012 presidential election.
With the April polls fast approaching, creating a new party together with allies in the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party has emerged as a possible scenario.
Choi Do-ja, senior spokeswoman of the Bareunmirae Party said the party supports Ahn’s will to play a role in making changes in politics.
“Ahn’s return will be a great help to gather centrist, reformist forces to transform our politics that struggles to make a step forward due to the confrontation between the main political parties,” she said.
He is scheduled to pay his respects at the Seoul National Cemetery in Seoul and the May 18th National Cemetery in Gwangju on Monday.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org