Former United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon is no longer pursuing plans to become the next president of South Korea.
Ban’s decision leaves the country’s ruling conservatives without a clear candidate to replace impeached President Park Geun-hye, the Wall Street Journal reports.
His exit from the presidential race boosts the candidacy of former opposition lawmaker Moon Jae-in, who is also calling for the renegotiation of a US-backed missile defense system in South Korea, although he wants stonger ties with Washington, the newspaper said.
Moon, 64, had been ahead of Ban in recent polls.
All of the remaining leading candidates for the presidency are from opposition parties that favor closer ties with China and North Korea at the expense of the US and Japan, the report said.
Since protests broke out late last year against Park amid allegations of influence peddling, many conservatives aligned with the president have looked to the former UN chief as a potential flag bearer, according to the Journal.
In an announcement on Wednesday, Ban said he had given up on his “pure wish to bring national integration”.
He voiced frustration with the political discourse in the country, citing some of the criticism he faced in recent weeks, the Journal said.
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