Time to prove your qualifications, Mr. AhnAhn Cheol-soo, a former dark horse in the December presidential race, has become a lawmaker now after a landslide victory over the ruling Saenuri Party candidate Huh Joon-young in the by-elction at Nowon C District, northeastern Seoul. The 60.5 percent votes Ahn got against Huh’s 32.78 percent could likely mark a fresh starting point for Ahn as he begins his career as a professional policitian.
I’d rather welcome his entry into the National Assembly, albeit belatedly, because he was naive - or brave - enough to knock at the door of the presidential office without any earlier political experience - except his overblown tours aimed at communicating with the young generation - and with only a blurry catchphrase of “New Politics,” too familiar a campaign slogan in Korean politics.
Now, Ahn must clearly show what he really meant by “New Politics” in the legislature and to his supporters and opponents alike in the Nowon district, instead of resorting to his signature zen-like rhetoric and behavior seen in the run-up to the last-minute withdrawal and the disappointing plot to consolidate a single candidacy with Moon Jae-in of the opposition Democratic United Party in the last presidential election.
Political pundits have come up with three scenarios for his - and our country’s - political future: a fatal division of the opposition camp after his launching of a new party absorbing some friendly forces from the DUP; a grand coalition of opposition forces around the Ahn-led new party, which would obviously deal a critical blow to the ruling Saenuri Party in many elections down the road; and Ahn still remaining an independent after failing to merge with the DUP and running for the 2017 presidential race as a candidate for a small party he himself has established under perhaps a familiar and ambiguous banner cry.
What course Ahn would end up with depends on how he effectively clear his fuzzy image as a politician. Now the ball is in his court.
*Kang Hiok Student at Konkuk University