Running against time, two leading liberal opposition presidential hopefuls agreed on Monday to hold a TV debate as part of their efforts to merge their candidacies in December's election.
The TV debate, scheduled for Wednesday, comes only six days before the Nov. 26 deadline set by the national election commission to register their candidacy. The two have earlier agreed to merge their bids before the deadline.
"The two candidates have moved ahead their merger negotiations by agreeing to hold a TV debate," Park Kwang-on, a spokesman for Moon Jae-in, the presidential nominee of the main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP), said at a news conference.
Yoo Min-young, a spokesman for highly popular independent candidate Ahn Cheol-soo, confirmed the announcement, saying that separate talks on setting rules to merge the two candidacies were continuing.
The proposed merger is to increase the chances of an opposition victory in the Dec. 19 election. Public surveys show the liberal camp losing to conservative candidate Park Geun-hye of the ruling Saenuri Party if the two run separately.