Departing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is reported to be keeping his door open for a South Korean presidential run as his term as the world's top diplomat comes to an end in two weeks.

During his final press conference as the global body's chief, Ban was asked if he would consider running for the presidential election in his home country, South Korea. While he did not give a direct answer, he replied he would "really consider seriously" his chances.

"I still have 15 days to go," the New York Times quoted him as saying on Friday (16 December).

Ban is concluding his 10-year term at the UN on 31 December. He said he would first take some rest after which he will return to the South and consider how best he can help his country, which has been hit by a political scandal.

The next presidential election in the country is scheduled to be held in December 2017. However, a snap poll could take place within two months if South Korea's Constitutional Court decides to remove President Park Geun-hye permanently.

The South's parliament voted to impeach Park over an influence-peddling scandal, where she has been accused of allowing her close aide to profit from her power as the president and influence decision-making in the country. Park allegedly let Choi Soon-sil use powers to put pressure on businesses to donate to foundation that Choi controlled and then siphoned off those funds for her personal use. Choi's criminal trial is set to begin on 20 December.

If the court upholds the impeachment, Park will become the first sitting president of the South to be forced out of office in the country's democratic history. The constitutional court has 180 days to pronounce a final verdict.

Seoul has seen massive protests in the past eight weeks, with tens of thousands of people demanding that the constitutional court formally remove Park from office.

Ban's comments have come amid the ongoing protests and he should decide which political party he wants to align with if he wants to run for the country's top job. But if he does run and loses, "his legacy as the chief of the United Nations might be weakened", the New York Times remarked.

Ban Ki Moon
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he would really consider seriously his prospects to run for presidential election in his home country South Korea Reuters