Ban Ki-moon rules out presidential run in South Korea

Seongnam Mayor Lee Jae-myung, one of potential presidential candidates from the main opposition Democratic Party, said Thursday the resignation of former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon may adversely impact the party's current front-runner.

Fatally damaged by the massive corruption scandal that has brought down President Park Geun-hye, conservatives will now have to look for another candidate to rally behind. Moon said he is willing to seek Ban's advice on global affairs, saying "Ban's experience in foreign policy and worldwide politics should be actively used for our country". Since returning to South Korea last month, he had called for an overhaul of South Korea's political system ahead of an election anticipated later this year or early in 2018. Her relationship with close friend, Choi Soon-sil reportedly led to the latter's growing influence and financial benefits.

The media leapt on a series of minor blunders, for instance when he took the airport express train instead of a limo on his return to South Korea, but didn't know how to buy a ticket. He was criticised for wearing a bib when the woman was not - and for feeding her while she was lying flat on her back.

Even without announcing his intention to run, his support ratings in opinion polls had slipped to second place behind the presidential candidate for the main opposition Democratic Party, Moon Jae-in, after peaking at almost 30 percent a year ago.

Before the scandal erupted in October, Ban was widely expected to join Park's Saenuri Party. "In that race, I can tell you clearly the choice of the people will be for regime change", he declared.

The former United Nations chief's decision could boost the chances of minor candidates such as Mr Ahn Cheol Soo of the progressive People's Party, said Dongguk University political science professor Kim Jun Seok.

Lee had been suggesting that Ban would not be able to finish the race since the former United Nations head's presidential ambitions emerged a year ago.

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