NATIONAL

Over two-thirds of Party for Democracy and Peace lawmakers bolt

By Kim Bo-gyung
  • Published : Aug 12, 2019 - 16:09
  • Updated : Aug 12, 2019 - 17:35

Ten lawmakers announced Monday their departure from the minor opposition Party of Democracy and Peace to form a new party of “change and hope” after failing to reach a consensus with the party’s leadership.

The move could jeopardize the existence of the 1 1/2-year-old progressive party.

Calling on Chairman Chung Dong-young and the party’s leadership to resign for success in next year’s general election, the lawmakers who left had demanded the party be led by an emergency committee.

“The Party for Democracy and Peace was launched to solidify the identity of the democracy group that succeeded the spirit of the May Uprising, and to restore the pride of the peace group to develop the Sunshine Policy. But for the past year and a half we have failed to meet the public’s expectations and desire,” said party Floor Leader You Sung-yop during a press conference at the National Assembly.

“To make up for this, we plan to go back to square one and practice politics that will make the public’s lives more comfortable. … We will put down our political privileges, and search for a new solution to restructure Korean politics (in a way) that will surpass the (largely) bipartisan structure,” You added.

Party of Democracy and Peace Floor Leader You Sung-yop (third from left) answers reporters’ questions during a press conference at the National Assembly, after announcing that 10 lawmakers would leave the minor opposition progressive party. (Yonhap)

Among the 10 lawmakers seeking to form a new political party are Rep. You Sung-yop and four-term seasoned politician Rep. Park Jie-won. They had urged the party’s leadership to form an emergency committee for the general election next year.

Saying such requests amounted to “a battle for hegemony,” Chairman Chung and the leadership argued their request could be met by establishing an organization within the party.

The departure has raised speculation that the 10 lawmakers may join forces with Honam-based lawmakers of the troubled minor opposition Bareunmirae Party.

“We did not bear in mind the Bareunmirae Party when we made the decision to leave the party. We are in contact with individual Bareunmirae Party lawmakers, but it is not appropriate to talk about it at this point,” Rep. You told reporters.

Meanwhile, the 10 lawmakers will officially leave the party Friday after the party receives a government subsidy Thursday.

Government subsidies are offered to parties every quarter and differ in amount depending on the size of the party. 

By Kim Bo-gyung (lisakim425@heraldcorp.com)