SEOUL, Feb 9 (Bernama) — South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, who is serving as acting president, rose to the second place in recent presidential survey, benefitting from former UN chief’s withdrawal from the presidential bid.
According to a Realmeter poll released on Thursday, Hwang garnered 15.9 percent in the opinion poll this week, up 3.5 percentage points from the previous week.
The result is based on a survey of 1,508 voters conducted from Monday to Wednesday. It has a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.
Hwang moved to the second spot for the first time as he emerged as the best hope in the conservative bloc after former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon declared his drop in the run for presidency last week.
Ban, whose second, five-year term in the top UN post terminated at the end of last year, returned to South Korea on Jan 12, and conducted a de-facto presidential campaign by making a nationwide tour and meeting politicians and ordinary citizens.
On Feb 1, Ban abruptly announced his withdrawal from the presidential race as his approval rating dropped after the lunar New Year’s holiday due to his mistakes during the actual campaign trail and his alleged involvement in corruption scandals surrounding his younger brother and nephew.
In the absence of Ban, Hwang emerged as an icon in the conservative camp, which is struggling to regain public support following the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye.
Hwang is former justice minister and now serves as an interim president, forming a personal image of stable manager amid the political unrest.
Approval scores for Hwang, however, are far behind Moon Jae-in, former chief of the biggest opposition Minjoo Party whose approval rating gained 2.0 percentage points to 33.2 per cent this week.
Moon kept the top spot in opinion polls for the sixth consecutive week.
Ahn Hee-jung, the governor of South Chungcheong province who is affiliated with the Minjoo Party, logged 15.7 percent in support scores, slightly below the prime minister’s 15.9 percent.
Support for Ahn increased for three straight weeks as the governor shares the same political support base as the former UN chief’s in the Chungcheong province. Ban’s withdrawal eventually divided his support base into Hwang and Ahn.