Struggling South Korea Candidate Yoon Replaces Campaign Team
(Bloomberg) -- South Korea’s top opposition candidate for president disbanded his campaign team for an overhaul -- dealing a blow to the conservative bloc’s hope to take back power in an election just two months away.
People Power Party candidate Yoon Suk-yeol announced Wednesday in Seoul that he was dissolving his campaign amid sagging poll numbers. Yoon, a former top prosecutor who entered politics to try to oust the party of his one-time boss, President Moon Jae-in, told reporters he was willing to “admit some of the mistakes my campaign team has made.”
“Please give me some time,” Yoon said. “I will show the public the changed image of Yoon Suk-yeol in a completely different form.”
The move comes after the former front-runner fell behind Moon’s chosen successor, Democratic Party candidate Lee Jae-myung, in opinion polls. Yoon was trailing Lee by 12 percentage points as the public’s preferred choice in the March election, a Hankook Research survey released Saturday showed.
Yoon’s campaign has been beset by infighting as he struggled to quiet ethical controversies including whether his wife exaggerated her credentials to get a job, something he denies. The political newcomer has also been criticized for a series of gaffes, saying, for instance, that the poor and less educated don’t understand the necessity of freedom.
Yoon publicly clashed with his campaign chief, Kim Chong-in, who accused the candidate of being unwilling to accept advice and work with someone who doesn’t share his views. Kim said that Yoon had failed to offer a “vision” for the presidency.
During his news briefing Wednesday, Yoon offered Kim his “sincere gratitude”
“I will deeply reflect on the steps that disappointed my supporters, especially those in their 20s and 30s,” Yoon said. “I will not say what I want to say, but what the people want to hear.”
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