Big-name politician retires after embarrassing defeat

July 31, 2014
Sohn announces his retirement from politics. (Yonhap)

Sohn announces his retirement from politics. (Yonhap)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — A former opposition leader often mentioned as a potential presidential candidate announced his retirement from politics Thursday after suffering a humiliating defeat in parliamentary by-elections a day earlier.

Sohn Hak-kyu, a former four-term lawmaker and ex-leader of what is now the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD), lost to Kim Yong-nam, a political novice of the ruling Saenuri Party, in Wednesday’s by-elections seen as a midterm referendum on President Park Geun-hye’s conservative government. The ruling party won a landslide victory, taking 11 of the 15 seats up for grabs.

Sohn had run in District D of Suwon, just south of Seoul, which has never elected an opposition candidate since the current electoral system was introduced in 1988.

“I am leaving politics today,” Sohn said in a hastily arranged news conference at the National Assembly. “It is my long-held belief that a politician should speak through elections. I was not chosen by voters in the July 30 by-elections. I humbly accept that will.”

Sohn, who currently serves as an adviser to the party, has often been mentioned as a potential presidential candidate of the opposition camp.

In 2012, he competed in his party’s primaries for the December presidential vote but eventually lost to Moon Jae-in, a former chief of staff to late former President Roh Moo-hyun.

Wednesday’s defeat, however, dealt a blow to the politician amid uncertainties about his influence within the opposition camp.

In South Korea, a number of big-name politicians have announced their retirement from politics after being defeated in elections, although not all have kept their word.

Late former President Kim Dae-jung announced his retirement upon losing the presidential election in 1992, only to return to win the next election in 1997.

replica watches bootleg red bottoms shoes replica fake pre owned hublot watches replica panerai pam 00177 replica rolex explorer 1 1016 replica best imitation patek philippe knockoff Best Imitation Breitling Replica watches swiss brands cheap rolex watches Replica rolex gmt watch