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Ban Ki-moon, the former secretary general of the United Nations, has announced he will not run in an anticipated presidential election in South Korea.

The decision has surprised many after Mr Ban returned to the east Asian nation last month and quickly began electioneering.

However, he never formally announced his candidacy and amid falling approval ratings bowed out on Wednesday.

South Korea will hold an election in the coming months if the country’s constitutional court upholds a parliamentary vote from December to impeach president Park Geun-hye.

Moon Jae-in, a Liberal party candidate and political veteran, is currently the front-runner. Mr Moon was leading Mr Ban by double digits in polls as recently as this morning.

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