Dec. 31 (UPI) — A South Korean software entrepreneur who previously ran for president is leading in a poll on the Seoul mayoral race ahead of a by-election in April.
More South Korean respondents to a local survey picked Ahn Cheol-soo, 58, a mayoral candidate with the minor opposition People’s Party, over rivals who include a minister and a former conservative lawmaker, Hankyoreh reported Thursday.
The poll, conducted by pollster Jowon C&I, showed Ahn winning a two-way race with 42.1% support, beating out current Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises Park Young-sun, who has a rating of 36.8%, according to the report.
Ahn, a doctor who made headlines after treating COVID-19 patients in the spring, disclosed his decision to run for office Dec. 20.
The center-right candidate faces hurdles, however. Na Kyung-won, a former lawmaker with the People Power Party, the main conservative opposition, also has not ruled out entering the race.
According to the Jowon poll, Na’s entry could cost Ahn the election. In a three-way race, Park would lead with 35.5% of the vote, Ahn, 26%, and Na, 9.4%, the poll showed.
Ahn said last week he wanted to be a “unifying candidate,” and that he is re-entering politics because of his dissatisfaction with President Moon Jae-in’s administration. Ahn has accused Moon of “killing democracy” in Korea, according to Yonhap.
Seoul has been without a mayor since Park Won-soon apparently died by suicide in July. Park, a ruling party politician, went missing after reports a former employee was seeking to file sexual harassment charges against him.
On Tuesday, South Korean police officially ended their investigation into Park, citing lack of evidence of claims Park’s aides abetted harassment by doing nothing to support the plaintiff, JoongAng Daily reported.
“The investigations did not yield evidence to support any charges for the suspects,” police said, according to the report.