South Korean presidential candidate confirms intention to join main opposition

July 29 (UPI) — A South Korean presidential front-runner who clashed with the administration of President Moon Jae-in suggested for the first time he plans to bring his campaign to the main opposition People Power Party, the conservative faction that has urged him to join this year.

Yoon Seok-youl, 60, said during an interview with Yonhap TV on Thursday that if he joins the main opposition party, he would “do so for the sake of changing the administration.”

“If I do run in an election, I ultimately have to join hands with the People Power Party and enter the party, don’t you think?” Yoon said, according to reports.

The candidate did not confirm whether he would join the main opposition by early next week, however.

Yoon’s remarks come after People Power Party leader Lee Jun-seok said on South Korea’s CBS Radio that he wants Yoon to bring his campaign to the main opposition no later than August.

Lee confirmed that his colleagues have visited with the Yoon campaign to discuss the matter.

Lee also said it is uncustomary to persuade an independent candidate to join the main opposition. It would also be “unreasonable” to take Yoon into the party unless the candidate agrees to join by next month, he said.

Yoon said Thursday that in a conversation with Kim Chong-in, a veteran politician of the opposition, that Kim confirmed Yoon would be allowed to join the party as late as November.

Yoon continues to lead in most polls over rivals, including Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung, but his support has been slipping since June, according to local network MBN on Thursday.

Yoon has received backlash for recent proposals, including abolishing a government-endorsed 52-hour work week system. Yoon later clarified his position after local media claimed the candidate was a proponent of longer working hours.