|Campaigners for Ahn in their office in Gongpyeong-dong, central Seoul, after the independent candidate’s|
announcement that he would withdraw from the presidential election. (Yonhap News)
Shock and sorrow gripped Ahn Cheol-soo’s campaign as he announced his withdrawal from the presidential race on Friday evening.
Ahn showed up at his campaign headquarters in central Seoul, not too far from Cheong Wa Dae shortly after 8 p.m.
News reports had earlier stated that he had paid a visit to the police station to pick up the required background check documents for the registration of presidential candidates on Nov. 25-26.
He appeared to be swallowing his tears as he read out his last speech as a presidential candidate.
“My last offer of negotiating terms failed to win an agreement,” he said. “Now, between candidate Moon and I, someone has to yield,” he continued.
“I relinquish my presidency.”
Several supporters and campaign volunteers in the audience screamed out “No! We absolutely oppose!” But Ahn read on, as the shouting continued.
Ahn’s voice cracked, with his hands visibly shaking. As he said his last words of thanks to his volunteers, sounds of sobbing could be heard in the audience. As he stepped off the podium, he proceeded to hug his spokesman, Yoo Min-young, who had been with him since the beginning. He also hugged his other advisers.
He then left the conference room.
Several of Ahn’s closest aides stood by as he read out his speech, including his chief of staff Cho Gwang-hee and Rep. Song Ho-chang, who had defected the Democratic United Party and joined the independent candidate. Their eyes were red, and they were visibly shaken.
Some of the campaign volunteers were seen sobbing at the press conference room, many dumbfounded and dazzled. After he finished his speech, Ahn went upstairs to personally thank the volunteers.
By Samuel Songhoon Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org