Former United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has announced that he will not run for presidency in South Korea. At a press conference in Seoul, he said all the “fake news” targeting him had damaged his “pure patriotism” despite attempts to “dedicate himself to resolving a national crisis and achieving unity”, AP reported.

After Ban returned to South Korea once his tenure at the UN ended, there was widespread speculation that he would run for presidency. His decision comes amid falling popularity in opinion polls and mockery online that he was out of touch with South Korean politics having been in New York for a decade.

The latest polls showed the 72-year-old with 13% of the votes, less than half of that of the Liberal Party’s Moon Jae-in, who is now the front-runner for the position, according to The Washington Post.

The country has been in a state of political crisis since current President Park Geun-hye was impeached by Parliament on December 9, following accusations of colluding with her close aide Choi Soon-sil to extort money in the form of donations from South Korean companies. The money, which was transferred to non-profit foundations controlled by Choi Soon-sil, was allegedly used for personal gains.

The Constitutional Court of South Korea has six months to decide on whether it will uphold the impeachment motion. Till then, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn will run the country. If the court decides to remove Park Geun-Hye from the position, South Korea will have to elect a new president within 60 days of the ruling.