National Revolutionary Party leader Huh Kyung-young announced his presidential candidacy for the March 9 election of next year at the Haengju Castle near Seoul on Aug. 18. Photo courtesy of the National Revolutionary Party

Quirky politician or insightful leader for future generations?

When National Revolutionary Party leader Huh Kyung-young ran for the presidential election in 2007, his policies were the targets of criticism and derision.

Back then, Huh promised to offer 30 million won maternity benefits and monthly allowances of 700,000 for those aged 65 or older. He also pledged to give 50 million won for the newlyweds.

In 15 years, his election promises turn to reality _ the country provides monthly allowances of 300,000 won for a vast majority of senior citizens.

And presidential hopefuls from major parties currently come up with pledges of giving a substantial amount of funds to the newlyweds and parents of new-born babies.

Now, people ask whether Huh is just a quirky politician, who tries to arrest the attention of the public through wild-cat schemes, or he is an insightful leader who lets the people know what will come in a decade or two.

2022 presidential election

On Aug. 18, Huh announced his candidacy for president at the Haenju Castle where Joseon Dynasty Commander-in-chief Gwon Yul defeated an attacking force of the Japanese in 1593.

Just like general Gwon who led the Korean forces against Japan during the Japanese invasions of Korea in the late 16th century, Huh was dressed as a Joseon Dynasty general during the announcement event.

“Presidential candidates of the both ruling and opposition parties are presenting election pledges, which are just copycats of my ideas disclosed decades ago,” the 71-year-old said.

“It’s fine for them to steal my ideas. I will continue to make innovative policies for the country, hoping they will follow me again.”

For the next year’s presidential election slated for March 9, Huh promised to give 100 million won ($85,000) to every Korean aged 18 and older in case he wins the race.

At first glance, that appears to be impossible because the country would need 4,400 trillion won, which is about the combined amount of government budgets for the next five years.

“I will reduce the annual budget to around 150 trillion won, thus saving 400 trillion won a year. And the country can find a new source of up to 400 trillion won taxation every year,” he said. “Then, we will be able to do so many things.”

Other out-of-the-box ideas

On the backside of Huh’s business card are more than 10 policies of the National Revolutionary Party, which are full out out-of-the-box ideas.

Included in the list are to reduce the number of lawmakers from 300 to 100 while making them unpaid honorary positions.

He also pledges to offer 1.5 million won to people every month and relocate the head office of the United Nations to the Truce Village of Panmunjom between the two Koreas.

Still, many of them appear to be implausible. But who knows? In a few decades, they might become a reality.

“One of my top priorities is to show the direction of the country while offering insights,” Huh said in a recent interview with Korea News Plus. “At the same time, I really want to become the next president of the country, and I am sure I will be.”

The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at or 82-2-6956-6698.