The 'will he or won't he[Interview : Hwang Sun-joon, Student
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies ] "Ahn Cheol-soo is in the media spotlight these days. I am reading his book to learn more about what kind of person he is. I wish he could come forth with what his plans are and reveal his true colors."
Ahn's book, "The Thoughts of Ahn Cheol-soo," reveals his ideas about how to create a level playing field for firms and how to support the less privileged.
It's been selling well since its release in mid-July.
He's extremely popular among people in their 20s and 30s, which is partially owed to his so-called Youth Concerts, where he visits small universities to speak to the youth of Korea.
[Interview : Karl Friedhoff, Program Officer
Asan Institute of Policy Studies ] "The reason he's popular is because he's the mystery man essentially. These young Korean voters are looking for the silver bullet. There are a lot of problems going on right now in Korean society, problems of economic redistribution, economic democratization, job creation is going to be a problem, and they want a political reform. And they know that the candidates out there can't provide answers to all of those problems."
Owing to his popularity, recent polls show that Ahn is running a close second to the Saenuri Party's Park Geun-hye.
As of last Friday, Ahn was garnering 43 percent support while Park was leading with 46 percent.
But in a three-way race between Park, Ahn, and the DUP frontrunner Moon Jae-in, support rates for Ahn and Moon fell well below those for Park, standing at roughly 29-percent and 18-percent respectively.
Because of the split of votes between Ahn and Moon, experts say the two liberal candidates have to combine their support bases somehow.
[Interview : Bae Jong-chan, Director
Research&Research] "If Ahn Cheol-soo ends up representing the liberal camp, he then has to decide if he's going to run as an independent or join the Democratic United Party. But since a big portion of Ahn's supporters want Ahn to run as an independent, joining the DUP is not likely to be an option for him."
Experts say Ahn is likely to announce whether he will throw his hat in the ring sometime between September 16th and the end of the month, right before the Chuseok holiday here in Korea, which begins on September 29th.
Kim Yeon-ji, Arirang News.