Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ahn Cheol-soo Announces Political Run Against Himself

Ahn Cheol-soo, the independent presidential candidate who famously spent ten months saying he wasn't sure whether he would run for president while writing books about his potential policies and conducting a campaign lecture tour, has apparently announced a political run against himself after deciding to name his election camp "Ahn Cheol-soo's Sincere Camp".

Ahn said that he came up with the name because he believes 'sincerity is what moves the world', and it was said to be the most popular choice among Facebook posts from his supporters, narrowly beating "Me Me Me Me Me" which received the second largest amount of posts, though all from one poster. As a compromise, and because the web address is too long, the campaign website will use to lay out Ahn’s policies for government.

But the sincerity platform appeared to immediately drive a wedge between Ahn and his wife, who on the same day was revealed to have been insincere in under-reporting the price of an apartment she bought in 2001, claiming it was 250 million won not 450 million, saving 10 million won in taxes. At a press conference in Seoul on Thursday he said he "could give various reasons" for what happened, several of which are believed to be tax evasion, but didn't, saying only that he will "live by stricter standards" from now on.

It is understood that the presidential candidate may write a book on the subject later however, provisionally titled "If She Did It", but that people would have to buy the book and draw their own conclusions because there was some ambiguity over the case; Ahn said that the documents relating to the apartment purchase were written by a real estate broker, with the defense apparently being that nobody else bothered to check that the price on the contract was correct.

The matter immediately generated speculation that Ahn's 'sincerity campaign' was effectively a political run against his wife, causing political analysts to question whether the electorate would be willing to use the presidential election to vote in what was emerging as a domestic matter between a married couple. But the speculation was quashed yesterday when Ahn put himself firmly in his wife's camp on sincerity matters, when he admitted - through a spokesman this time rather than sincerely in person - that he was also insincere with the tax authorities when he sold his apartment in 2000 for 240 million, not the 70 million he insincerely claimed.

Ahn explained that under-reporting and insincerity was common practice in the real estate market at that time, invoking the political defense that it was not really unethical if "everyone else was doing it", and it was also pointed out that tax evasion on property was not technically illegal in Korea until 2006. However, in his book earlier this year "The Problem With Everybody Else", Ahn had written at some length that severe punishments should be handed out to tax evaders, although having been caught this week he promised to "live by stricter standards" in future, for the second time in two days.

Political analysts generally agreed that insincere Ahn's sincerity campaign was the first time in Korean political history that a candidate had not only stood against other people on ethical issues, but also apparently himself at the same time. But despite the revelations of insincerity by the sincerity candidate, the latest polling suggests that Korean people are still willing to vote for Ahn, to stop behavior like Ahn's.

Ahn now plans to press ahead with his plans to create a new political democratic environment dominated by younger liberal voters with fresh and popular ideas, or 'hip-ocracy' as it has been dubbed.

Related Links
Ahn Cheol-soo Decides Name of Election Camp
Ahn Cheol-soo Apologizes for Wife Underreporting Apt. Value
Ahn Cheol-soo Admits to Underreporting Apt. Sale Price
Ahn Cheol-soo faces political acid test
Ahn apologizes for wife’s real estate tax fiddle
Ahn to release book to publicize his presidential bid
Ahn faces new ethics questions

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