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GNP chair signals her bid for the presidency

May 10,2006
Grand National Chairwoman Park Geun-hye said yesterday she would step down from her post in Korea’s largest opposition party on June 16, a de facto announcement of her presidential bid in the 2007 election.
“Taking into account the party’s constitution, which stipulates the separation of the party leadership posts and presidential candidates, I will step down from my chairwoman post on June 16, one year and six months before the presidential election,” Ms. Park told journalists.
The deadline for potential presidential candidates to quit their elected party leadership posts is June 18, a year and a half before election day. The party revised its constitution in November to that effect, in a stated attempt to make its primary election campaigns for the presidential nomination fairer.
Ms. Park said only that she “has left the possibility open” for a presidential bid. But even that was a change from her earlier refusal to say anything but that it was “too early” to announce anything.
The party’s interim chairman will be Won Hee-ryong, who was second to Ms. Park in the last party chairman balloting in 2004, unless he too decides to bid for the nomination.
None of the other leaders of the party have yet said if they intend to challenge Ms. Park for the nomination. Lee Myung-bak, Seoul’s mayor, is another strong candidate but holds no party leadership post that would force him to lay his cards on the table early.


by Choi Sang-yeon, Ser Myo-ja


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