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Prime Minister Hwang Kyo Ahn Confirms He Will Not Run For President

By March 16, 2017 at 8:01 am
Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn will not run for president (Photo : Kim Min-Hee-Pool/Getty Images)

Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, who is currently the Acting President, has confirmed on Wednesday that he will not be running for president. This comes after the court upheld the impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye.

President Park's ousting has prompted a race on who will next lead the country. The Constitution states that South Korea will need to have a presidential election within 60 days after the previous president has been ousted.

PM Hwang Kyo-ahn will be guiding the election, which should happen on or before May 9. While there is a possibility that the election will be before then, there are speculations that it will happen on the exact day, deemed as "Cherry Blossom Election."

Presidential candidates will have 23 days to campaign. Parties will have 37 days to finalize their respective candidates.

"I know there are people wishing for my presidential bid, but I have decided not to run and instead will focus on ensuring a fair election and a stable transition of power," Prime Minister Hwang said during a Cabinet meeting. "Considering my status as acting president, it is inappropriate for me to run in the election."

He also vowed to oversee the election strictly and fairly. The Cabinet has also approved of holding the presidential election on May 9.

Hwang was seen as a potential conservative candidate. His silence about the issue has sparked further speculations and criticism from liberal politicians.

In opinion polls, Hwang has scored higher than other conservative presidential hopefuls. 11 people have declared their bids in the Liberty Korea Party. Several of them have the support of less than 1 percent in opinion polls, except for former South Gyeongsang Gov. Hong Jun-Pyo, who garnered about 3 percent.

"As conservative voters are divided, Hwang had no chance of winning even if he was backed by far-right elderly voters," Yoon Tae-gon, a senior political analyst at The Moa Agenda&Strategy, said. "Without proven political experience, he was likely to follow in ex-U.N. head Ban Ki-moon's path if he declared a bid."

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