With the ruling Saenuri Party's former leader Park Geun-hye announcing her bid to run for president, the nomination races of both the ruling and opposition parties have begun in earnest.
Park is currently the strongest candidate in the field, with approval ratings of nearly 40 percent, This is her second run for the nation's top office.
Her bid is focused on three concepts: change, hope and the future.
[Interview : Park Geun-hye, Presidential Candidate
Saenuri Party] "I will share the pain that Koreans are going through and work with them to find solutions. I will also devote myself to making a country where every single person can fulfill their dream."
Park put forth key policy pledges regarding economic democratization, social welfare and security in front of hundreds of people gathered at Times Square in Youngdeungpo District, western Seoul, and replied to questions or requests that people wrote down on red postcards that were handed out prior to the event.
Although Park is the presidential front-runner, it remains to be seen whether she will continue to lead the field, as polls have shown that she would run a close race wtih Korean software mogul Ahn Cheol-soo should he decide to throw his hat into the ring.
In any case, many political experts are saying that the winner will be elected by a very small margin, 500-thousand votes, perhaps, compared to some 5 million votes in the 2007 presidential election.
Meanwhile, the main opposition Democratic United Party's leading presidential contender, Moon Jae-in, put forth his policy plans at a panel discussion Tuesday morning.
The ruling Saenuri Party is scheduled to hold its nomination race on August 20th, while the main opposition Democratic United Party has plans to tour the country before selecting its presidential candidate on September 23rd.
Eoh Jin-joo, Arirang News.