South Korean independent candidate has withdrawn from the presidential race following lengthy negotiations with Moon Jae-in on a united candidacy to avoid splitting the liberal vote and handing an easy victory to the New Frontier Party.
“I am giving up my presidential candidacy,” Mr. Ahn said during a news conference in Seoul. “From now on, Moon Jae-in is the single candidate”.
Mr. Ahn said that defeating the ruling party was more important than an individual candidacy and urged his supporters to back Mr. Moon.
Mr. Ahn, a technology entrepreneur-turned-professor, was widely considered to have the best chance of winning the presidency out of any independent candidate in South Korea’s 25 years of democracy with a large, youthful support base. But his lack of political experience made many consider him too risky for high office, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Both men had agreed in principle to team up against election front-runner Park Geun-Hye, meaning out one them would drop out while the other will remain as a single candidate.
Mr. Ahn’s exit made a tighter race between Mr. Moon and Ms. Park, less than a month away from the elections. Both candidates pledged to strengthen South Korea’s “economic democracy” by rooting out “chaebol” conglomerates and battle corruption.