SEOUL, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's main opposition party led recent opinion poll as public attention is being paid to an early presidential race after President Park Geun-hye was impeached in early December.
According to a Gallup Korea poll released on Friday, the biggest opposition Minjoo Party garnered 37 percent this week in public support. It was down 4 percentage points from the previous week, but the figure was much higher than three other major parties.
The ruling Saenuri Party gained 12 percent in approval scores, unchanged from the previous week. It was trailed by the minor opposition People's Party with 11 percent, up 1 percentage point from a week earlier.
The People's Party, launched about a year ago, was composed mostly of former Minjoo Party members.
The Righteous Party, which splintered off from the governing Party, gained an approval rating of 9 percent.
The pollster said people's attention is moving to the next presidential election since former UN chief Ban Ki-moon returned back to his home country on Jan. 12.
The former South Korean career diplomat has never officially declared his run for presidency, but his moves have been seen as a de facto presidential campaign. He is forecast to decide on what political party he will side with in the foreseeable future.
Helped by strong support for the opposition camp, presidential contenders from the Minjoo Party gained higher approval scores.
Moon Jae-in, former Minjoo Party chief who was the runner-up in the 2012 president election, secured a support rate of 28.1 percent this week, up 2 percentage points from the previous week, according to a Realmeter survey released on Thursday.
Support for Moon far exceeded Ban Ki-moon's 21.8 percent, down 0.4 percentage points from the previous week.
Since his comeback, Ban had made the so-called "people-friendly" moves, traveling major cities across the nation. But, his moves caused public criticism for his comments and actions.
Lee Jae-myung, mayor of Seongnam city to the southeast of Seoul who is affiliated with the Minjoo Party, gained 9.0 percent in support as the next president, down 2.7 percentage points from the previous week.
Lee was followed by Ahn Cheol-soo, former head of the People's Party who has 7.4 percent in support rate. South Chungcheong province governor Ahn Hee-jung of the Minjoo Party came next with 4 percent.