Liberal presidential candidates head toward final compromise on merger

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Liberal presidential candidates head toward final compromise on merger



South Korea's leading presidential candidates of the liberal camp could soon reach a final compromise on how to merge their candidacies as both sides seek a public opinion poll made up of similar factors, officials said Friday.

With four days to go until the agreed merger deadline, the election camp of liberal independent Ahn Cheol-soo on Thursday proposed a nationwide survey that would put equal weight on popular support for Ahn and his rival Moon Jae-in, and an assessment of who is more likely to defeat conservative front-runner Park Geun-hye in the Dec. 19 election.

The proposal was similar to a separate polling method supported by Moon's camp, which would equally combine a hypothetical two-way race with Park and a survey of who would better represent the liberal camp.

Moon, the 59-year-old standard-bearer of the main opposition Democratic United Party, convened an emergency meeting with camp officials earlier in the day to discuss whether to accept Ahn's proposal.

"We see a need to hold serious discussions on the civil society's proposal (supported by Moon) and Ahn's proposal," Woo Sang-ho, the communications chief of Moon's camp, said in a press briefing.

He also called for the two camps to immediately resume talks between their negotiation teams to decide on a method that is fair and unites supporters of both sides.

Ahn, a 50-year-old software mogul-turned-politician, and Moon, a former human rights lawyer who served as chief of staff to the late President Roh Moo-hyun, held one-on-one talks Thursday before coming up with their respective proposals but failed to narrow their differences.

Ahn has argued the poll should ask respondents to choose which of them has a better chance against the 60-year-old Park, while Moon has insisted on picking the better leader for the liberal camp.

Recent polls show the former method gave Ahn the upper hand while the latter favored Moon.

In the event of a three-way race, the two liberals are widely expected to split the opposition vote and hand a victory to Park. As a daughter of the late authoritarian President Park Chung-hee, the ruling party candidate enjoys strong support from conservatives and the older generation. (Yonhap)
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