South Korea election goes one-on-one

  • Search efforts for MH370 to be intensified, says Hishammuddin
    Search efforts for MH370 to be intensified, says Hishammuddin

    All efforts related to the underwater search of MH370 will be intensified in the next few days, acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said today. “The JACC has narrowed the search area and it’s imperative that we focus on this now,” Hishammuddin said at a press conference today. “Today and tomorrow are imperative to... …

  • Penang to rename Jelutong sea front ‘Karpal Singh Drive’
    Penang to rename Jelutong sea front ‘Karpal Singh Drive’

    GEORGE TOWN, April 19 — A newly-built park facing the sea along Jelutong here will be renamed after the late Karpal Singh, Lim Guan Eng announced today. The Penang chief minister said the... …

  • Underwater search for MH370 to be completed in 5 to 7 days, say Australian officials
    Underwater search for MH370 to be completed in 5 to 7 days, say Australian officials

    Australian officials supervising the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 told Reuters today that an underwater search for the black box recorder based on "pings" possibly from the device could be completed in five to seven days. A US navy deep-sea autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) is scouring a remote stretch of the Indian... …

  • Young Karpal was curious and had claws, says brother
    Young Karpal was curious and had claws, says brother

    GEORGE TOWN, April 19 — The “Tiger of Jelutong” who shook his adversaries in Parliament and court had been a “brilliant” child who had no qualms about showing his claws and fangs even to family.... …

  • Penang to rename road to honour Karpal
    Penang to rename road to honour Karpal

    Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng today proposed that the IJM Promenade in Seri Pinang be renamed to Persiaran Karpal Singh, in honour of the late DAP leader who died in a road crash last Thursday. Announcing this to reporters at Karpal's house along Jalan Utama, Lim said renaming the road was a fitting way to honour the veteran lawyer and... …

  • He was our role model, our hero, say Karpal’s sons
    He was our role model, our hero, say Karpal’s sons

    As the patriarch of a close-knit family, Karpal Singh was a devoted father and grandfather, his sons said. Jagdeep Singh Deo, 43, recalled that when he and his four siblings were growing up, his father’s legal and political careers took up so much of his time that he was hardly at home. So whenever the family was together, it was truly... …

The sudden withdrawal of software mogul Ahn Cheol-Soo means South Korea's presidential race now begins in earnest, with voters facing a straightforward and familiar liberal-or-conservative choice.

Ahn, who had run as an independent championing political and economic reform, stepped down late Friday to throw his support behind Moon Jae-In from the left-leaning main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP).

Moon's most pressing task is to win over the support base left by Ahn's sacrifice and gather the maximum momentum going into the December 19 ballot against conservative front-runner Park Geun-Hye.

"We all owe a huge debt to Mr. Ahn. I feel both sorry and grateful to him," the 59-year-old Moon said after Ahn's unexpected announcement on Friday.

While Moon shared Ahn's stance on key issues like reforming South Korea's giant, family-run conglomerates, observers say he would be unwise to assume the automatic backing of those galvanised by Ahn's independent campaign.

The two men had come under intense pressure to merge their campaigns -- to avoid splitting the liberal vote and handing Park the presidency -- but their negotiations over who should step down were difficult and, at times, acrimonious.

Ahn, who had painted himself as an outsider untainted by party politics, was enormously popular among young liberal voters.

His withdrawal was a disappointment to many seeking an alternative to the entrenched left-right divide represented by the established political parties.

"Ahn's voluntary withdrawal from the campaign put the political establishment to shame," Park Kie-Duk, a political analyst at the Sejong Institute, told AFP.

"The important thing now is for Moon to smooth the ruffled feathers of Ahn's supporters," Park said.

Although Ahn endorsed Moon and called on his supporters to help defeat Park Geun-Hye from the ruling New Frontier Party, it remains to be seen just how far he will go in actively campaigning for a candidate whose commitment to political reform he has called into question.

"Ahn will publicly express his support for Moon once or twice more before the election, but he will restrain from stumping for Moon," suggested Kang Won-Taek, a political science professor at Seoul National University.

"Chances are he will try and forge a separate political group," Kang said.

According to the polls, Park would have easily won in the event of a three-horse race, but they put her neck and neck in a face-off with either Moon or Ahn.

In stark contrast to Ahn, the two remaining candidates are closely associated with former presidents from opposite sides of South Korea's political spectrum.

Park is the daughter of South Korea's former military strongman Park Chung-Hee, credited as the architect of South Korea's economic boom but still despised by some for his repressive rule.

Moon, who was chief of staff in the administration of former liberal president Roh Moo-Hyun, was jailed in the 1970s for protesting against Park Chung-Hee's authoritarian regime.

Moon has made it clear that he favours closer ties with North Korea and would reverse outgoing president Lee Myung-Bak's policy of linking economic assistance to progress in talks on Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

Ahn's withdrawal has ensured that the December 19 ballot will be close, although polls suggest Park still has the edge, especially if some of Ahn's disappointed supporters baulk at switching their allegiance.

"Park is likely to win the final race with a narrow margin," said Shin Yul, a political science professor at Myongji University.

Follow @YahooMalaysia on LINE for daily news updates.

Comments on Yahoo pages are subject to our link to Comments Guidelines. You are responsible for any content that you post. Yahoo is not responsible or liable in any way for comments posted by its users. Yahoo does not in any way endorse or support comments made by its users.

  • Karpal’s car crashed into lorry, not the other way around, says Perak police The Malaysian Insider
    Karpal’s car crashed into lorry, not the other way around, says Perak police

    Initial investigations have revealed that Karpal Singh’s Toyota Alphard crashed into a five-ton lorry in the accident yesterday that claimed his life and that of his assistant, Perak police said today. State police chief Datuk Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani also dismissed rumours and speculation that the accident was caused by the lorry crashing... …

  • Told to ‘shut up’ on Twitter, Zul Noordin lashes back at Khairy The Malay Mail Online
    Told to ‘shut up’ on Twitter, Zul Noordin lashes back at Khairy

    KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 — A feud is breaking out between former Perkasa vice president Datuk Zulkifli Noordin and Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin on Twitter. Told unequivocally by the minister... …

  • Zulkifli shoots back at Khairy in Twitter row The Malaysian Insider
    Zulkifli shoots back at Khairy in Twitter row

    Former Perkasa vice-president Zulkifli Noordin continued his Twitter row with Khairy Jamaluddin today, taking a swipe at him with a belittling tweet and telling him not to be a knee-jerk politician. Khairy, the Youth and Sports Minister, had told Zulkifli yesterday to 'shut up' after the latter had made insensitive tweets about the death of... …