Ex-Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl announces presidential bid in S. Korea

President Moon Jae-in speaks during a live interview with public broadcaster KBS at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on May 9, a day before the second anniversary of his taking office. (Yonhap) Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SEOUL, Jun 29, 2021, The Korea Herald. Former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl on Tuesday announced his bid to compete in the presidential race next year, officially launching a political career 118 days after stepping down from the top prosecutorial post, The Korea Herald reported.

During a press conference in southern Seoul on Tuesday, Yoon vowed to rebuild justice and the rule of law, saying that the Moon Jae-in administration destroyed South Korea’s foundations.

“It is hard to articulate every misdeed that this administration has committed,” Yoon said.

“This cartel of small interest groups made by the incumbent administration and its related people has privatized power and is establishing a food chain that is void of a sense of responsibility and morality.”

Yoon said he is running for president to bring back justice, uphold democracy and to ensure that every right of the people is respected. Overturning the “corrupt and incompetent” ruling bloc is essential to protect the people and the future of the nation, he said.

“I have no experience in politics but have spent 26 years as a public official with a determination to work only for the people,” Yoon said.

“I dare to tell the people that I am ready to devote everything and dedicate myself for the people and the future of this nation. I promise to do this in the right way, jointly with everyone who desires to overturn the ruling force.”

Yoon has been touted as the top presidential contender for the opposition bloc since last year, with much support coming from those critical of President Moon Jae-in and the ruling Democratic Party of Korea.

He resigned from the top prosecutorial post in March after conflicting with the Moon administration’s plan to reform the prosecution. Yoon criticized the plan during a press conference announcing his resignation for destroying the nation’s constitutional values.

The ex-top prosecutor’s campaign could face roadblocks due to a dossier allegedly revealing his family’s suspected illegalities. The so-called “Yoon Seok-youl X-file” has been circulating in political circles, and exact details of the document remain largely unknown at this point.

During the press conference, Yoon said he has not seen the document yet, adding that the people will be able to fairly judge when the “groundless matador(-like gossip) from an unknown source is made known to the public.”

Yet Yoon has been preparing in recent weeks to start his presidential campaign, hiring a new spokesperson and opening a campaign office in Jongno-gu, central Seoul. Yoon also opened his own Facebook page to appeal to voters through social media.

He is widely expected to join the main opposition People Power Party for the presidential election, which will be held in March 2022.

Yoon said during the press conference Tuesday that he agrees with the philosophy of the People Power Party, while he has not decided which political party to join. He declined to comment on whether he would join the primaries for the main opposition party.

The People Power Party has also been considering to recruit Choe Jae-hyeong, former chairman of the Board of Audit and Inspection, who resigned from the post Monday, as another high-profile figure who has been at odds with the ruling party and the Moon administration.

Like Yoon’s, Choe’s resignation was seen as a step toward joining the presidential election race under the opposition bloc. He has been in conflict with the Moon administration in regards to BAI’s probe of a controversial early closure of Korea’s second-oldest nuclear power plant.

The presidential race is going to remain a hot-button topic throughout this week, as Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung, one of the most favored presidential hopefuls in public polls, is slated to announce his bid on the ticket of the ruling party Thursday.

Yoon and Lee have been touted as the two most likely presidential candidates in public polls, and much of public interest has been centered on their whereabouts and movements.

According to the latest Realmeter survey, Yoon had a support rating of 32.3 percent from eligible voters across the country, followed by Lee with 22.8 percent.

The main opposition People Power Party is planning to decide on its candidate for the presidential post in early November, while the ruling Democratic Party plans to hold its primaries in early September.

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