Running under the Saenuri ticket is unlikely given the mass drop in public sentiment towards the conservative group in the aftermath of Park's scandal.
"With conservatives and their electoral support bases in disarray as the country continues to cope with the Choi Gate scandal, Ban will probably be the only viable candidate able to carry a center-right banner-assuming that is what he wants-and compete against what will be a tough challenge from center-left candidates," Seaman explained.
These leftist candidates include Moon Jae-in from the opposition Democratic Party and Seongnam Mayor Lee Jae-myung of the opposition Minjoo Party. According to a Real Meter poll of 2,525 surveyed adults released on Monday, support for Ban stood at 21.5 percent, versus 26.8 percent for Moon and 12 percent for Lee.
Both Moon and Lee, in addition to other potential presidential contestants such as Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, may ramp up attacks on Ban's UN record and his ties with Park in an attempt to discredit him, Seaman noted.
Despite Ban's popularity among the electorate and attempts to form a campaign team, which may include economist Jeffrey Sachs in an informal advisory role, serious concerns about his chances remain.
Namely, "his ability to quickly and effectively make the transition from a diplomat and a technocrat to a politician in what will likely be a bruising fight to replace Park," Seaman said.
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