(ATTN: ADDS poll results in last 3 paras)
SEOUL, Jan. 31 (Yonhap) -- The ruling People Power Party (PPP) will hold a primary to pick final candidates to become the new party leader before the national convention in March, the party's election committee said Tuesday.
The party will pick the top four candidates for the leadership race through a vote of paying party members by Feb. 10 and hold a national convention on March 8 to elect a new leader.
It will hold a runoff if none of the final candidates wins a majority and announce the results on March 12.
Four sitting lawmakers -- Reps. Kim Gi-hyeon, Ahn Cheol-soo, Cho Kyoung-tae and Yoon Sang-hyun -- as well as former Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn and Kang Sin-eop, an attorney and former head of first lady Kim Keon Hee's fan club, have declared bids for the PPP chairmanship until now.
A Realmeter poll showed last week Kim is leading the race, with Ahn closely trailing behind.
But a poll released later Tuesday put Ahn far ahead of Kim.
In the survey conducted by Gallup Korea on Thursday and Friday, Ahn garnered 59.2 percent support, compared with Kim's 30.5 percent, in a hypothetical two-way race. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent points.
Among PPP supporters, Ahn earned 60.5 percent against Kim's 37.1 percent, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.