Wednesday, September 19, 2012

And then there were three

Tensed up and overwhelmed by emotions, he clicks his mouth to utter short sentences, and barely manages to control the dam behind those moist eyes. A brief smile when the audience barks a liberating round of applause - Ahn Cheol-soo has just come out as an official candidate for the December 19 presidential elections - and he quickly returns to his serious speech.

I wouldn't wish my worst enemy to become president of South Korea: you either end up dead or in jail, at best covered with mud. And this time, the top guy will face daunting challenges and take unpopular decisions.

Ahn doesn't have a party or even an official team, and anywhere else, there'd no way he could win two months from now. But this is Korea, a political mess where traditional parties are too busy searching and destroying enemies to carry any reform, a democracy bound to change for the better or worst after these elections (see "25 years later").

For Ahn Cheol-soo, it was not a matter of "if" but of of "when"*. He considered the usual springboard before leaving Seoul City Hall to Park Won-soon, and spent the following years preparing himself while all rivals pursued their path to self-destruction.

He waited until the last moment, right after Moon Jae-in's victory at the DUP primaries, depriving him from any chance of gaining momentum. Both Moon and Ahn stand behind Park in the polls, but the outsider expects a decisive boost in the days to come.

And he smartly asked his rivals to join his pledge for a positive campaign, as well as for a constructive collaboration following the elections, whatever their outcome. A pledge neither Saenuri nor DUP can even pretend to agree upon.

Sparks won't fly. Too much mud around for that.

Seoul Village 2012
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* see all posts related to Ahn, including "AHN Cheol-soo(n)", "A new mayor for Seoul, a new landscape for 2012"

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