In fact, Chung's biggest advantage is that he is regarded as a new face on the national level, untainted by the corruption and regional rivalry that have characterized South Korea's political system. But many analysts think Chung will face an uphill battle against Lee as campaigning heats up. Voters may view Chung as too close to the conglomerates dominating Korea's economy. He is the son of the late founder of Hyundai Group, once the country's largest chaebol, and is a major shareholder of Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., the world's largest shipbuilder.
Chung could pull off a victory, analysts say, if Roh drops out of the race and supports him. Both Roh and Chung back Kim's policy of engagement with North Korea--in contrast to the conservative Lee, who maintains a tougher position on Pyongyang. By Moon Ihlwan in Seoul EDITED BY Edited by Rose Brady