UN Secretary-General Ban-ki-Moon has emerged as a hot favourite in South Korea’s presidential race next year, a survey conducted last week has revealed.
Ban whose second term ends this December has pipped other presidential hopefuls with an approval rating of 25.3, Korea Times said in a report on Thursday.
Former opposition leader Moon Jae-in, who ran in the 2012 presidential vote had a rating of 22.2, which was slightly higher than last week’s poll.
The other presidential hopeful Ahn Cheol-soo, the co-chair of the People’s Party was way behind with 12.9 percent.
The opinion poll conducted earlier this week had a sample size of 2018.
A similar survey conducted by the same agency in April however showed Moon and Ban neck to neck in the race.
An analysis of the comparatively small telephonic survey showed Moon was popular with young people in the age group of 20-40, while Ban was preferred by elder people.
It is now more or less clear that if Ban decides to run for the presidency, it could end up as a two legged race.
There have been speculations that he would seek a ticket from president Park Guen-hye’s conservative Saenuri Party.
But political analysts say they can’t rule out the possibility of him cobbling together a party of his own.
Ban has so far not said anything to dispel the notion that he is eyeing the top job when he returns to South Korea.
Ban’s who met several ruling party leaders during last week’s trip to Seoul has dropped enough hints that he is likely to engage with the
political scene at home.
If the 71 year old decides to run for the 2017 presidential vote, it could be a contravention of UN resolution.
The UN had in 1946 passed a resolution that bars Secretary-Generals from seeking government office, immediately after their tenure in New York.
“He will decide how best to be a productive global citizen, but . . . that decision will come after he leaves office,” UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric was quoted as saying by Hankyoreh.
The Seoul based daily has said that Ban’s political remarks at home have been raised at least thrice at news briefings in UN headquarters in New York last month.