(Seoul) Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, long regarded as a potential presidential candidate in South Korea, was found dead hours after his daughter reported her disappearance, announced Friday the police.
France Media Agency
A complaint was lodged with the police against him on Wednesday by a member of the staff of the town hall of the South Korean capital, for sexual harassment according to media.
The body of Mr. Park, aged 64 years, was discovered in the mountain north of Seoul, police said, including hundreds of officers who participated in the search.
The investigators clarified that they had not found any word written by him on the spot to explain a possible suicide.
The South Korean news agency Yonhap, however, wrote that “it was presumed that he had died.”
The mayor had left his home after leaving a message reminiscent of “last words”, his daughter said Thursday afternoon to the police who added that his phone had been cut and that he was unreachable for several hours.
An emblematic figure of the ruling Democratic Party (center left), Park Won-soon led since 2011 the gigantic capital of the South Korea, which has about ten million inhabitants, almost a fifth of the country's population.
He was considered a potential candidate to succeed the current Head of State, Moon Jae-in, during the presidential election of 2022.
When questioned on this point by the AFP a few months ago, the mayor of Seoul did not deny the ambitions that were attributed to him in this regard.
If the suicide hypothesis were confirmed, he would be the highest South Korean political official to have killed himself since former President Roh Moo-hyun threw himself from the top of a cliff in 2009, after being questioned on allegations of corruption against members of his family.
Park Won-soon was a committed student during the time of the Park Chung-hee dictatorship (murdered late 1975) in South Korea: for having participated in a rally against the military regime, he was dismissed from the Seoul National University in 1975, barely a few weeks after entering it, and imprisoned for four months.
He later became a lawyer defending human rights and became involved in charitable activities.
At the head of the South Korean capital, he has built a reputation as a hard worker, being very demanding with regard to his subordinates, some of whom even committed suicide due to stress.