Former United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon, who was expected to run for the upcoming South Korean presidential elections, on Wednesday (February 1) ruled out his bid.
Ban did not formally announce his presidential bid, but indicated a strong willingness to run in the election even before his return to Korea on January 12 after 10 years of service at the world body.
Ban's star power had declined in an intense political climate, reeling from impeachment charges against President Park Geuyn-hye, the Journal noted.
"I have chose to give up the pure intention of trying to lead political change and accomplish national reconciliation", he said.
He said, without elaborating, that he tried to dedicate himself to resolving a national crisis and achieving unity but his "pure patriotism" and push for political reform were badly damaged by political slander and "fake news " that targeted him. If she's thrown out, presidential elections, originally set for December, would instead be held within two months.
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It follows his less than successful return to Seoul last month, marred by a series of perceived PR gaffes and a scandal involving family members.
Mr Ban had been expected to run as a conservative but was unable to secure any party affiliation.
It is bound to benefit Moon, a former leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, who has maintained a lead in various recent opinion polls.
Ban returned to South Korea on January 12 after serving 10 years as United Nations chief but had been unable to capitalise on his much-anticipated homecoming, cutting a sometimes-irritable figure in public and mired in a series of perceived PR gaffes and a scandal involving family members.
There had been little to propel Mr Ban's chances for the presidency in the absence of a political base and the lack of a clear message after his return from New York, Prof Kim said.