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Ahn refutes secret negotiations, says alliance only possible under his banner

Civic group’s debate about opposition parties’ unification creates buzz

Ahn Cheol-soo, the minor opposition People’s Party presidential candidate, on Tuesday refuted rumors of behind-the-scenes negotiations with the main opposition People Power Party, saying once again that no alliance is possible unless he is the unified candidate.

Speaking in a radio interview, Ahn said he is not considering merging his campaign with that of Yoon Suk-yeol of the People Power Party. 

Ahn Cheol-soo, the minor opposition People’s Party presidential candidate, speaks during New Year's press conference held at the National Assembly, Tuesday. (Yonhap)
Ahn Cheol-soo, the minor opposition People’s Party presidential candidate, speaks during New Year's press conference held at the National Assembly, Tuesday. (Yonhap)

“I assume that there isn’t a person (who is conducting unofficial negotiations) like that within the party. If there is someone like that, I would stop the person. In the election camp, things that are irrelevant from my intentions won’t happen,” Ahn said.

When asked about the possibility of an alliance, Ahn said bluntly, “There isn’t any possibility.”

Ahn added, however, that he would not say no to an alliance that forms around him.

“I am not thinking about an alliance. But if I was to be the player that represents the opposition parties, I can definitely win the election. Some members of the Democratic Party are supporting me,” Ahn said.

“If an alliance is to come, it should form centered around me,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, on the same day a news report said a civic group will host a debate concerning a potential alliance between opposition parties. But both the People Power Party and People’s Party have distanced themselves from the event.

The civic group is to host a debate under the title “We need a wider allied politics” on Thursday in central Seoul. Professor Kang Won-taek from Seoul National University is to give a lecture titled “Politics of Alliance,” and Kim Dong-cheol from the People Power Party and Lee Shin-beom from the People’s Party had agreed to participate on the panel in the debate.

A few hours after the news surfaced, both parties, however, issued official statements saying the debate is not connected to the respective parties.

The People’s Party said that the debate is irrelevant to the party and Lee pulled out of the event.

“Lee first agreed to take part in the debate thinking that it is about discussing the change of power. But as people are jumping to conclusions about the debate, he deemed it to be inappropriate to participate and notified he would pull out from the event,” the People’s Party said.

Kim had not announced any intention to withdraw as of press time.

“(Kim) will take part in the debate as an individual. His participation is not an official statement of the party’s election committee,” the People Power Party clarified.

“Kim is not in a position to represent the party or suggest an alliance,” Lee Jun-seok, chairman of the main opposition party, said via social media.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)

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