Former professor and presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-soo has said he will run in the upcoming April 24 by-election for a Seoul constituency, his associate said Sunday.
Ahn will hence return to Seoul from his U.S. visit around March 10.
Ahn has been staying in the U.S. for about two months, since the opposition’s presidential election failure in December last year.
Ahn’s return comes amid intense confrontation between the new government and the opposition party over the government reorganization plan.
His comeback is expected to pose a greater challenge to the main opposition Democratic United Party still reeling from deep factional discord and low approval ratings upon its election failure.
“After (he returns to Korea), Ahn has decided to run in the parliamentary by-election for Nowon-gu C in April in the name of new politics,” Rep. Song Ho-chang said at a press briefing.
Song was a co-chairman of Ahn’s election committee. He said Ahn will explain in further detail once he arrives in Seoul.
The constituency was left vacant after a court ruling that stripped the seat from Roh Hoe-chan, the leader of the minor opposition Progressive Justice Party. Roh lost his seat last month after the Supreme Court confirmed his conviction for disclosing illegally obtained information.
Ahn, a software mogul-turned-professor-turned-politician, had played a major role in the presidential race by spearheading the popular campaign on new politics. He later joined hands with DUP candidate Moon Jae-in to go against now-President Park Geun-hye.
The major parties remained cautious over the news of Ahn’s return, as watchers predicted a potential change in the current political dynamics and a possible eclipse of the Park government’s advertising of its commitment to reform.
Ahn repeatedly apologized to his supporters -― largely comprising progressives and moderates in their 20s and 30s ― for his “failure to bring new politics,” after his begrudging decision to align with Moon, and again upon the Dec. 19 election.
By Lee Joo-hee (email@example.com