UN chief frontrunner in S Korean

UN chief frontrunner in S Korean presidential hopefuls

Seoul, June 10 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon ranked first in a survey of South Korean people to pick the country’s next president. Ban’s tenure as the UN chief ends later this year.

According to a poll of 1,002 adults conducted for three days through Thursday, 26 per cent of respondents selected Ban as the next president, becoming the frontrunner among potential South Korean presidential hopefuls, local pollster Gallup Korea said on Friday.

Moon Jae-in, former head of the main opposition Minjoo Party, gained 16 percent in favour as the next head of state, down two percentage points from the previous survey a month earlier, Xinhua reported.

The support rate for Ahn Cheol-soo, chief of the minor People’s Party, dropped 10 percentage points from the prior month to 10 percent, ranking third in the presidential poll.

It was followed by Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon with six percent and former Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon with four percent.

Ban’s comments, made during his six-day visit to South Korea, boosted expectations that the UN chief could run for South Korean presidency after his 10-year term terminates in December this year.

The country’s presidential election will be held in December next year.

On the first day of his trip, Ban said at a meeting with members of the Kwanhun Club, a private association of senior South Korean journalists, that he would consider what role he could play as a South Korean citizen after he ends his job as UN secretary-general.

Though he denied his comments meaning a declaration to run for presidency, most of South Korean media reports interpreted the remarks as such declaration.

Ban has not confirmed nor denied whether to run for presidency.

On the last day of his South Korean trip, Ban asked journalists not to report any speculative news about what he would do after the end of his tenure, saying he will make best efforts to complete his UN chief term to the last.

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