Mayor Park Won-soon and other hopefuls for the Seoul mayoral election next June, including one of the new party of Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo, now have a formidable competitor.
The man in point is Rep. Chung Mong-joon, former chairman of the ruling Saenuri Party and actual owner of the multi-trillion Hyundai Heavy Industries.
Rep. Chung has reportedly made it clear that he is ready to transfer all his shares (totaling trillions of won) to a blank trust. This means that literally all his properties will be entrusted to the management and custody of a thirty party.
This is a practice that is normally done by well-to-do politicians to increase the public trust in them whereas all their money matters thenceforth are handled by a third party during their tenure of government office.
The 'bombshell news' is expected to carry some weight on the political arena in Korea in connection with the Seoul mayoral election.
Why is Chung doing this?
Political observers say that Chung had in mind not only the Seoul mayor's position but that he may be considered the job as a stepping stone to the Daeggwon (the Great Power), the Presidency, after the tenure of office of the Seoul mayor.
Chung, joining the Seoul mayoral election, comes as a big surprise also to Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo who might have considered incumbent Mayor Park and other candidates as an easy customer because of the overwhelming public support for him and his party yet to be formed.
Public opinions polls have been very promising for Ahn. For instance, one such survey conducted by Prof. Han Sang-Jin on Feb. 2 polls indicated that Ahn party won 33.3% support rating outpolling the ruling Saenuri Party that won only a 24.4% support rating. The supposedly majority opposition Democratic Party got only 6%.
This situation, in the opinion of many people, was reminiscent of the late former President Kim Dae-jung in the Jeolla provinces, his power seat region. People then said, "Well, even if Kim put up a mannequin on the street and name him his candidate, the mannequin will surely win the race!"
At one time, this was the speculation for the candidate of the Ahn party for the Seoul mayoral election because in the last Seoul election Ahn literally made Park the Seoul mayor by quitting the race in favor of Park in spite of the fact that Ahn then had a 55% support rating while Park had only 5% supporting him. Park's competitor from the ruling Saenuri Party, Rep. Madam Lah Kyung-won, then had a 24.6 percent support rating and without Ahn's support there was no questioning about Seoul's having a lady mayor instead of Park.
Anyhow, with Chung's declaration of intention to run in the Seoul mayoral election, both Park and Ahn's mannequin are expected to have a tough competition.