Tough-talking Conservative Hong Joon-pyo to Run for President?
SEOUL, March 11 (Yonhap) -- South Gyeongsang Gov. Hong Joon-pyo, a tough-talking conservative, has continued to signal his presidential ambitions, observers said Saturday, with a by-election expected in May following the Constitutional Court's decision to dismiss President Park Geun-hye.
With the conservative bloc suffering from a dearth of prominent figures to field for the upcoming election, Hong, a member of the Liberty Korea Party, has emerged as a potential conservative standard-bearer.
"It is not the manner to express a presidential bid when the impeachment is under process," Hong said earlier this month. Park was completely removed from office on Friday as the Constitutional Court upheld the impeachment resolution that parliament passed in December over the presidential corruption scandal.
Following Park's ouster, the country has to elect a new leader within 60 days.
On Friday, Hong said that "great chaos calls for magnanimous rule" on his social media account, apparently referring to the social and political divisions in the wake of Park's dismissal.
Pundits said the remarks appear to reflect his determination to run for the presidency. Others, however, said the remarks may indicate he will seek a third term as governor.
Amid a lack of conservative presidential hopefuls, Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn is the only right-wing figure that has posted a meaningful standing in local opinion polls. Hwang has so far remained noncommittal on whether to throw his hat into the ring.
Hwang and Hong both need to resign from their post 30 days before the election date if they wish to run as candidates.'