Ban Ki-moon, former United Nations chief, drops South Korea presidency bid

Posted February 02, 2017

Ban Ki-moonBan told reporters that he will give up his "pure will" to lead the country's political change and the national unity, abandoning his ambition to become the next South Korean leader following the presidential impeachment.

Former UN chief Ban Ki Moon, once the favourite to be South Korea's next president, yesterday ruled out running for the job, saying he was "disappointed at the selfish ways" of some politicians, and complaining of "fake news".

Former U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon speaks during a press conference at the National Assembly in Seoul on February 1, 2017.

But he has been hurt by his closeness to Park - the two had repeated meetings previous year, which were viewed here as a sign that they were hatching a handover plan - and by allegations of corruption against those close to him.

Ban's decision to drop out of the race was a dispiriting setback to the conservative camp that has sought to recruit him as its standard-bearer in the presidential election later this year.

Before the corruption scandal revolving around Park broke in October, Ban's prospects for winning the presidency appeared strong and he was leading the polls, despite not having declared an intention to run.

Ban's relatives had been linked to corruption charges.

"Even if he is not in politics, there are many ways [Ban] can contribute to [the country], in the field of diplomacy", Moon said, referring to Ban's decades-long career in Seoul's foreign ministry and his 10 years as United Nations chief. Ban has called the report ill-founded and threatened to take legal action against the magazine. His clean image and worldwide profile were dealt a blow with the indictment of his brother Ban Ki Sang and a nephew in the United States, in a bribery scheme involving a Vietnamese development project. Ban has said he was "flabbergasted" about the case, and that he was not aware of it.