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Thursday, 5 September, 2002, 15:43 GMT 16:43 UK
Korean football chief runs for presidency
South Korean fans celebrate a World Cup win
The World Cup fanned Mr Chung's popularity
The head of the South Korean Football Association, Chung Mong-joon, has confirmed he will stand as a candidate in the country's presidential elections due in December.

Mr Chung, the wealthy US-educated son of a conglomerate founder, has long been considered a possible contender.


His fresh image is appealing to young people, who are yearning for new and clean politics

Political scientist Lee Nae-young
His popularity has soared since South Korea's success in co-hosting, and competing in, the World Cup finals earlier this year.

Recent opinion polls have suggested that he would win more votes than the governing party's candidate, but he is trailing slightly behind the main opposition contender.

Incumbent President Kim Dae-jung is barred from seeking re-election under the terms of the constitution.

Mr Chung is expected to make a formal declaration of his candidacy in 12 days' time.

In addition to heading the Korean Football Association and serving as the vice-president of football's world governing body, Fifa, Mr Chung is also an independent legislator.

New party?

Some politicians who are pushing to form a new party ahead of the elections are reportedly wooing Mr Chung to become their standard bearer.

Analysts say the football chief could prove to be a strong candidate in the presidential race.

South Korean football chief Chung Mong-joon
Chung Mong-joon's support is widespread but unreliable

The candidate from Mr Kim's Millennium Democratic Party, Roh Moo-hyun, has been tainted by scandals involving two of Mr Kim's three sons, and by crushing party defeats in recent by-elections.

And Lee Hoi-chang of the opposition Grand National Party is battling allegations that his son dodged military service.

Mr Chung has told reporters that he wants to "reform politics and change the campaign mood, even if I don't get elected".

In the family

Lee Nae-young, professor of politics at Seoul's Korea University, told the BBC that Mr Chung's role in bringing the World Cup to South Korea and making it a success had generated political capital.

"His fresh image is appealing to young people, who are yearning for new and clean politics," he said.

"His support base is very broad thanks to the World Cup effects. But it's not firm and rather fluid."

It is not the first presidential bid by the Chung family.

Mr Chung's father, Chung Ju-yung, who founded the Hyundai Group conglomerate, made his own unsuccessful bid in 1992.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Hank Morris, Industrial Research Consultants, Seoul
"He [Chung Mong-joon] has been heading the Hyundai Ship Building company"
See also:

16 Aug 02 | Asia-Pacific
09 Aug 02 | Asia-Pacific
26 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
18 Dec 01 | World Cup 2002
19 Jul 02 | Country profiles
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