Ahn Cheol-soo must step forward

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Ahn Cheol-soo must step forward

With only 100 days left before the December presidential election, everything, including candidates, is uncertain in what amounts to a “misty election syndrome.” The familiar scene only exacerbates confusion among voters and eventually leads to an immense loss for the nation.

The earlier the nomination of candidates is concluded, the better for scrutinizing their personality and policies. With Mitt Romney determined as opponent to incumbent President Barack Obama nearly five months before the Nov. 6 election in the U.S., both sides have engaged in fierce debates on economy, jobs, welfare and tax. A series of television debates will follow soon. Voters there cannot hear such weird words as an independent candidate out of the ring or a unified candidate.

Even on a D-100, dubiousness and conspiracy theories overwhelm the campaign front. Though Moon Jae-in will surely be nominated as candidate for the main opposition Democratic United Party, nobody knows whether he will be the final candidate until the last minute, because of undeclared dark horse Ahn Cheol-soo’s still ambiguous attitude toward running for president. And no one knows if Ahn would gladly join the DUP as the party’s presidential candidate or if he will jump on the political bandwagon of the radical progressive camp.

A misty election season historically caused a big loss to the nation as evidenced by a shocking alliance of liberal Kim Dae-jung and conservative Kim Jong-pil only 40 days before the 1997 presidential election. No citizen could understand the incongruous blending of the two. There was no time enough to tell where the discordant coalition would lead the country. As expected, the DJP alignment led to lots of squeaky sounds after taking power, including a devastating friction over North Korean issues. The mismatch ended up in failure after three years.

The crisis in the 2002 presidential election was more dramatic. As his support rates plunged to less than 15 percent, Roh Moo-hyun of the main opposition attracted independent candidate Chung Mong-joon to his party with 20 days before the election. Chung’s abrupt vow to break the alliance just a day before the election, however, shocked voters, liberal and conservative. The ensuing crisis exemplified by a collective departure from the party is a tip of the iceberg. If we could have enough time to screen Roh’s campaign promises to establish a new administrative capital, for instance, we could have averted much national waste after he came to power.

We must reduce such uncertainties before the election. Ahn, if he has any intention to run for presidency, must announce his bid and go through a scrutinizing process. Tough time awaits us: economic slowdown, export decrease, polarization of classes and uncertainties of North Korea. If unexpected variables continue to obstruct the election season, only a gloomy future lies ahead.
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