|Former Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon speaks during a press conference at the National Assembly, Tuesday. Oh reversed his pledge to boycott the main opposition Liberty Korea Party's national convention and said he will run in the party's leadership race as scheduled. / Yonhap|
By Park Ji-won
Former Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon reversed his pledge Tuesday to boycott the national convention and said he will run in the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) leadership race as scheduled.
"I have decided to run in the election to prevent the LKP from becoming a party that only works for specific regions and ideologies, not a party that serves everyone," Oh told a press conference before registering his candidacy.
"I will prevent the party from returning to the past and lead it toward the future. Please support me to gather conservatives and judge the government power."
Oh's spokesman said he registered his candidacy in the afternoon.
Oh's move came after he and other five candidates announced last week that they would not register their candidacy in protest of the conservative party's rejection of their demand to postpone the election on Feb. 27 as it clashes with the second summit of North Korean Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi. At the national convention, the LKP plans to elect its leader to fill the gap of former leader Hong Joon-pyo, who resigned from the post to take responsibility over a large defeat in the June local elections, and choose its Supreme Council members.
The party's election preparation panel reviewed a possible delay, but decided not to accept their request and hold the event as scheduled.
Meanwhile, five other contenders― Hong, Rep. Ahn Sang-soo, Rep. Joo Ho-young, Rep. Shim Jae-cheol and Rep. Chung Woo-taik ― announced they will give up their election bids.
Oh is widely expected to compete against Hwang Kyo-ahn, a former prime minister under President Park Geun-hye who served as acting president after the National Assembly impeached Park. Meanwhile, Rep. Kim Jin-tae who has come under fire over his defamatory remarks against victims of the May 18 Gwangju Uprising in 1980 will also likely run in the race as he pledged.