Who's #1 for Korea's next president?

Who's #1 for Korea's next president?

Two new surveys by major (conservative) newspapers show that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is leading the pack when it comes to the 2017 presidential race. No one has officially announced their candidacy but peek behind the curtains and you see the armies are lining up. 

Joong-Ang Ilbo's poll: Ban Ki-moon (Saenuri Party) 32.7%, Moon Jae-in (Minjoo Party of Korea) 17.3%, Ahn Cheol-soo (People's Party) 8.1%.

Chosun Ilbo's poll:  Ban Ki-moon (Saenuri Party) 27.4%, Moon Jae-in (Minjoo Party of Korea) 16.5%, Ahn Cheol-soo (People's Party) 8.2%.

Ban Ki-moon is expected to return to Korea in mid-January after finishing at the UN. He will be heavily courted by President Park's faction within the ruling Saenuri Party, but some say that alignment would lead to a dip in popularity. However, the other faction ain't looking too hot these days either.

Moon's allies within the Minjoo Party of Korea have taken key party positions, but he's holding off on making major moves in order to build party unity and give other presidential contenders within the MPK a chance to develop their candidacies. (Before he crushes them?)

And Ahn Cheol-soo. Ahn Cheol-soo? What is he still doing here? Could someone please explain to me why he's still here?

The Chungcheong region is famous for being the swing state that tips the presidential election. And guess who hails from that region? Yes, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Want to connect the dots? The ruling party's floor leader and presidential chief of staff are also from Chungcheong. That gives a boost to Ban Ki-moon's chip stack even before entering the race. 

But can Ban survive the knives of Korean politics and build a power coalition of his own? And will Moon be able to come out of his shell and show that he's not just an eternal chief of staff who's been reluctantly put into the leadership role? And Ahn. Wait, Ahn. Who's he again?

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