Ban Ki-moon rules out presidential run

Ban, during a hastily arranged news conference, said he was disappointed by the country's political establishment.

Former U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday renounced his presidential ambitions in a surprise decision likely caused by political offensives from rivals and a corruption scandal involving his family members.

"I have chose to abandon my pure ambition of bringing about a change in politics, and uniting the nation", Mr Ban said.

Ban had generated interest as a top candidate to succeed Park Geun-hye, who was impeached in December over a corruption scandal, but his support in opinion polls has been falling.

There have been massive protests against Park, who will turn 65 on Thursday (February 2), recently with thousands taking to the streets demanding her ouster.


A court is now deliberating about whether to accept Park's impeachment or restore her to power. Her relationship with close friend, Choi Soon-sil reportedly led to the latter's growing influence and financial benefits. She reportedly held sway over choosing government officials, Choi's wardrobe and helped in extorting millions of dollars from South Korean companies.

Mr Ban, 72, returned to South Korea on Jan 12, after 10 years as United Nations secretary-general.

The media leapt on a series of minor blunders, for instance when he took the airport express train instead of a limo on his return to South Korea, but didn't know how to buy a ticket.

Even without announcing his intention to run, his support ratings in opinion polls had slipped to second place behind the presidential candidate for the main opposition Democratic Party, after peaking at almost 30 percent past year.

"Even if he is not in politics, there are many ways [Ban] can contribute to [the country], in the field of diplomacy", Moon said, referring to Ban's decades-long career in Seoul's foreign ministry and his 10 years as United Nations chief.

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