Published: Thu, February 02, 2017
Sci-tech | By Jose Becker

Former U.N. chief Ban renounces presidential ambitions

Ban Ki Moon, the former United Nations secretary-general, has abruptly abandoned his hopes of becoming South Korea's next president after a disastrous three-week campaign in which his popularity ratings were eaten away by a family scandal, unintentional comedy, and bumbling incompetence.

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 said he did not want to run for the presidential position in South Korea as he was "disappointed at the selfish ways" of some of the politicians of the country and also complained of "fake news".

Mr Ban gave a brief press conference in which he said he wanted to use his 10 years' experience as United Nations chief to achieve national unity, but said he had been subjected to "malign slander akin to character assassination". If she is thrown out, presidential elections, originally set for December, would instead be held within two months. The constitutional court is deciding whether to uphold a National Assembly motion to impeach Park for her role in a corruption and influence-peddling scandal. Liberal Moon Jae-in, who lost the 2012 election to Park, is the current front-runner.

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"But my pure patriotism and ambitions, along with my cause for change in politics, have dissipated due to slander close to personality murder and various fake news reports". His clean image and global profile were dealt a blow with the indictment of his brother Ban Ki Sang and a nephew in the United States, in a bribery scheme involving a Vietnamese development project.

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.

Mr Ban was South Korea's foreign minister from 2004 to 2006, helping to implement a policy of engagement with North Korea, before taking the top job at the UN.

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