IT mogul-turned-politician declares bid for Seoul Mayor

SEOUL, April 4 (UPI) — IT mogul-turned-politician Ahn Cheol-soo, who ran for the presidential election last year, announced his bid to run for Seoul Mayor in the upcoming local elections.

Declaring his campaign slogan “Change Seoul,” the minor Bareunmirae Party’s chief recruiter promised to usher in a new innovative era for the South Korean capital, which is home to nearly 10 million residents.

In his speech, Ahn vowed to draw from his experience as a medical doctor, a professor, an IT expert and an entrepreneur to revitalize the city and release it from “hypocrisy and incompetence.”

His pledges include using artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and big data to allow the “innovative management,” job creation and a secure social safety net, the Hankyoreh reported.

He criticized the liberal administration’s lack of effective policies in addressing the economy, jobs and skyrocketing housing prices.

Ahn, a former software mogul, physician and professor, considered running in a by-election for the Seoul mayoral race in 2011, having garnered broad support from young people through his book and an appearance on a popular talk show.

However, he dropped out, and decided to back liberal candidate Park Won-soon who is currently in office.

With the centrist politician’s candidacy, the race for the most coveted local government post is expected to heat up significantly, challenging the usual two-way competition between the main conservative and liberal parties.

The incumbent liberal mayor is seeking a third-term in office. Other ruling Democratic Party contenders include former floor leaders Park Young-sun and Woo Sang-ho.

Meanwhile, the main conservative Liberty Korea Party plans to name former Gyeonggi-do Province Governor Park Moon-soo this week.