UPDATE : 2018.9.24 MON 04:34
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Seoul mayor to drop presidential bid

SEOUL, Jan. 26 (Yonhap) -- Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, who has been cited as one of the potential candidates for the next presidential election, said Thursday he has decided to withdraw his bid.

"Although I am withdrawing my candidacy, I will give my all for the change of government to reflect the people's desire as a member of the Democratic Party," Park said in a statement.

"I will focus on citizens. As the mayor of Seoul, I plan to make it the world's best global city, which is safe and where citizens are happy," Park added. The mayor also apologized to his supporters.

Park's aides said the decision was attributable to weak poll numbers.

According to a poll conducted by RealMeter last week, Park's approval rating came to 3.4 percent, hovering far below other liberal contenders.

Moon Jae-in, former head of the main opposition, led the survey at 29.1 percent. Seongnam Mayor Lee Jae-myun from the same party stood at 10.2 percent.

"If we join forces together, the Democratic Party will be able to change the government (through the presidential election)," Moon said, expressing gratitude to Park's decision.

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, a member of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea, holds a press conference at the National Assembly in Seoul on Jan. 26, 2017, to announce he will not run for president, citing his failure to win the hearts of voters. (Yonhap)

"Park pledged to do whatever he can for the change of the government as a member of the party, while making a concession (to other candidates)," Moon added.

Rep. Choo Mi-ae, head of the Democratic Party, said Park was a candidate with great potential, and his polls could have rebounded.

"He had a lot of ideas, and is skilled at interacting with citizens," Choo said. "But it seemed he felt pressure from the sluggish approval rating."

Park So-yeon  edt@koreapost.com

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