• Kyodo

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South Korea’s main opposition party’s presidential campaign said Monday that its candidate, Yoon Suk Yeol, is suspending external activities to overhaul his election campaign committee, an attempt likely precipitated by falling support ahead of the March election.

The People Power Party’s campaign has recently been mired in infighting with party leader Lee Jun Seok resigning as a senior campaign official in December after feuding with a Yoon associate. Reports of Yoon’s wife allegedly falsifying qualifications on her resume have also caused his popularity to drop.

An official who heads the candidate’s campaign committee told reporters on Monday that an overhaul has become necessary, including the resignation of senior campaign officials, in a way that would align with “popular sentiment,” according to Yonhap News Agency.

It is unclear when the suspended campaign activities will resume.

Before turning his sights on the presidency, Yoon had stepped down as the nation’s top prosecutor after opposing a prosecutorial reform drive under the government of progressive President Moon Jae In. Yoon later became the conservative camp’s choice for the next president, but some observers say his appeal to voters may be limited if he keeps running just on an anti-Moon message.

Amid a smattering of calls for a new conservative candidate, Yoon told a meeting on Saturday that he is resolved to changing himself.

Opinion polls released by major newspapers in recent days have shown Yoon behind his rival, Lee Jae Myung of the ruling Democratic Party.

The JoongAng Ilbo newspaper said in its Monday edition that a poll it conducted at the end of last month showed 39.4% of respondents supporting Lee, with 29.9% backing Yoon. The daily’s poll, conducted in late November, showed Yoon leading Lee by nearly 3%age points.

The election to choose Moon’s successor will be held on March 9. Moon’s single, nonrenewable five-year term of office ends in May.

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