On Tuesday, a faction of the ruling South Korean party talked about forming a new party, while key members of the faction were hopeful outgoing U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon would join it to launch a widely expected bid to become president, reported Reuters.
Ban’s potential rivals reacted by questioning his presidential credentials and touting their own ideas, including significant policy changes in regard with relations with nuclear-armed North Korea and allies United States and Japan.
Ban joining the new party would give him a conservative platform, distancing the 72-year-old from the ruling Saenuri Party of President Park Geun-hye, which has become tainted by a corruption scandal that led to a parliamentary impeachment vote against her this month.
Choung Byoung-gug, one of the 29 lawmakers who left the Saenuri Party accused President Park Geun-hye’s loyalists in the party’s leadership of ‘neglecting the values of real conservatism’ and ‘shamelessly defending the historically worst infringement of constitutional values.’
Some analysts expect the new party to become the country’s main conservative force and further defections to it from Park’s party were likely, especially if Ban joined.
“We are hoping Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will join the New Conservative Party for Reform, and if he joins, it will be right that he would compete in a fair primary,” Yoo Seong-min, a member of the new party and a possible presidential contender, told TV station SBS, using the new party’s tentative name.
In a Realmeter poll released on Monday, 23.3% of respondents supported Ban, just ahead of the liberal Democratic Party’s Moon Jae-in, at 23.1%.