The Straits Times
Published on Nov 23, 2012

S. Korea presidential hopefuls merge against Park


SEOUL (AFP) - Independent Ahn Cheol Soo withdrew from South Korea's presidential race on Friday, throwing his support behind the main opposition party candidate to take on conservative frontrunner Park Geun Hye.

"I am giving up my presidential candidacy," Mr Ahn told a hastily-arranged media briefing, following weeks of often acrimonious merger talks with Democratic United Party (DUP) candidate Moon Jae-In.

"From now on, Moon Jae In is the single liberal candidate," Mr Ahn said, calling on his supporters to vote for Mr Moon in the Dec 19 ballot.

Both men had come under intense pressure to merge their campaigns so as to avoid splitting the liberal vote and effectively handing the presidency to Ms Park who has a lock on the country's conservative electorate.