Former UN Chief Ban Not Running for South Korea President

Former United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has announced that he will not run for presidency in South Korea.

Ban did not formally announce his presidential bid, but indicated a strong willingness to run in the election even before his return to Korea on January 12 after 10 years of service at the world body.

South Korea is now in the middle of a political crisis after President Park Geun-hye was embroiled in a corruption scandal and underwent an impeachment trial earlier this month.

"I was very frustrated by parochial, selfish attitudes, and reached a conclusion that it is meaningless to move forward with them", Ban said at an impromptu news conference as quoted by the Yonhap news service.

But he was mocked on the Internet for being out-of-touch with Korean society after a decade in NY, and his star power seemed to have lost much of its luster. He was also tainted by corruption allegations facing family members.

Mr Ban gave a brief press conference in which he said he wanted to use his 10 years' experience as United Nations chief to achieve national unity, but said he had been subjected to "malign slander akin to character assassination".

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A court is now deliberating about whether to accept Park's impeachment or restore her to power.

If she is thrown out, presidential elections would have to be held within two months.

But he has been hurt by his closeness to Park - the two had repeated meetings previous year, which were viewed here as a sign that they were hatching a handover plan - and by allegations of corruption against those close to him.

Mr Ban's announcement appeared to take the four main political parties aiming to field candidates by surprise, including Mr Moon's Democratic Party.

Another bribery case involving his brother and nephew has emerged as another dispiriting setback for Ban.

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