Democratic Party of Korea

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Democratic Party
President of South Korea Moon Jae-in
Leader Choo Mi-ae
Floor leader Woo Won-shik
Secretary General Lee Chun-seok
Chairman of the Policy Planning Committee Kim Tae-nyeon
Founded 18 September 1955 (1955-09-18) (Democratic Party)
9 September 1995 (1995-09-09)
(National Congress for New Politics)
26 March 2014 (2014-03-26)
Merger of Minjoo Party
Preceded by Democratic Party
New Politics Alliance
Headquarters 7, Gukhoe-daero 68-gil, Yeongdeungpo District, Seoul
Ideology Liberalism[1]
Social liberalism[2]
Political position Centre[1] to centre-left[3][4][5]
Colours Blue[N 1][6]
Seats in the National Assembly
121 / 300
Municipal mayor and Gubernatorial
9 / 17
Seats within local government
1,581 / 3,913
Democratic Party of Korea
Hangul 더불어민주당
Hanja 더불어民主黨[N 2]
Revised Romanization Deobureominjudang
McCune–Reischauer Tŏburŏminjudang
The Minjoo
Hangul 더민주
Hanja 더民主
Revised Romanization Deominju
McCune–Reischauer Tŏminju
Democratic Party
Hangul 민주당
Hanja 民主黨
Revised Romanization Minjudang
McCune–Reischauer Minjudang

The Democratic Party,[7] also known as The Minjoo Party of Korea[N 3] (Hangul더불어민주당; Hanja더불어民主黨; RRDeobureominjudang; lit. Together Democratic Party; short form 민주, 더민주 "Minjoo", "Deominjoo"),[8] formerly the New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD),[9] is a social liberal political party in South Korea.

The party was founded on 26 March 2014 as a merger of the Democratic Party and the preparatory committee of the New Political Vision Party (NPVP). The former Democratic Party was legally absorbed into the NPAD after the latter's creation, while the preparatory committee of the NPVP was dissolved, with members who supported the merger joining the NPAD individually.


Formation and Ahn–Kim chairmanship (March–July 2014)

The Democratic Party was formed as the New Politics Alliance for Democracy (새정치민주연합; Saejeongchi Minju Yeonhap) on 26 March 2014 after the independent faction led by Ahn Cheol-soo, then in the process of forming a party called the New Political Vision Party, merged with the main opposition Democratic Party, led by Kim Han-gil. Ahn and Kim became joint leaders of the new party.[10] The party performed poorly in by-elections that July, however, and both leaders stepped down, having served for three months. Leadership of the party was assumed by an emergency committee.[11]

Ahn–Moon controversy and split (2015–16)

The next year, at a party convention on February 7, Moon Jae-in was elected the new chairman of the party.[12] Moon, who had previously served as chief of staff for former president Roh Moo-hyun,[12] was the leader of the party's "pro-Roh" faction, which was opposed to Ahn and Kim. Moon came under fire for imposing a "pro-Roh hegemony" in the party, as Ahn and Kim were jeered and harassed at a memorial service for Roh held in May 2015.[13]

The party hemorrhaged support as the factional conflict intensified, falling from around 40 to 30 percent in opinion polls.[14] A survey conducted on November 12–14 showed that supporters of the party wanted Ahn and Seoul mayor Park Won-soon to assume the leadership alongside Moon.[15] On November 29, Ahn rejected a proposal from Moon to establish a joint leadership,[16] and the next month he presented Moon with an ultimatum, demanding that he call a convention to elect a new party leader. Moon rejected the demand,[17] and Ahn left the party.[18]

Ahn was followed by a number of supportive NPAD assembly members, including his former co-leader Kim Han-gil,[19] and the group began preparations to form a new party.[20] On January 12, Kwon Rho-kap, a former aide of President Kim Dae-jung and a popular figure in the party's traditional stronghold of Honam, also exited the party, similarly citing Moon's "pro-Roh hegemony".[21] Meanwhile, Ahn and Kim merged their group with that of another defector from the NPAD, Chun Jung-bae, to form the People's Party.[22]

Following the defections, the NPAD was renamed the Minjoo Party of Korea, and Moon resigned on 27 January 2016.[23] Moon handed power to Kim Chong-in, an academic and former assemblyman who had more recently served as economic advisor to conservative President Park Geun-hye.[24][25] Kim was seen as an unexpected choice, as he had previously worked for the right-wing Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo administrations in the 1980s,[26] serving as an assembly member for the ruling Democratic Justice Party and as health and welfare minister under Roh.[27]

Under Kim Chong-in (January–August 2016)

Kim Chong-in viewed the pro–Roh Moo-hyun faction and what he considered the extremist wing of the party as responsible for the party's troubles, and pledged to diminish their influence.[28] In the lead-up to the 2016 parliamentary election he moved against key members of the pro-Roh faction in the nominations process, deselecting Lee Hae-chan, who had been Prime Minister under Roh and was now chairman of the Roh Moo-hyun Foundation.[29] Lee left the party in response.[28] Kim's moves proved controversial, and many of his nominations for the party's proportional representation list were rejected by the rest of the party leadership, while favored candidates of Moon were ranked near the top of the approved list. Kim offered to resign in March, but decided to stay on as leader after a personal visit from Moon.[30] Kim affirmed that he would continue to attempt to change the party's image, stating that the events had shown the party was "still unable to move on from its old ways".[24]

Though losing votes to the People's Party formed by Ahn, Chun and Kim Han-gil—particularly in Honam[14]—the party emerged as the overall winner of the election, garnering a plurality of seats (120 seats) in the National Assembly with a margin of one seat over the Saenuri Party. Lee Hae-chan returned to the Assembly as an independent representing Sejong City. Following its election victory, Kim Chong-in announced that the Minjoo Party would change its emphasis from welfare to economic growth and structural reform. Kim stated that the party would also change its position to support the establishment of for-profit hospitals, in contrast to the party's earlier opposition to the policy.[31]

2017 presidential election victory

After the constitutional court impeached president Park Geun-hye over bribery, Democratic party's Moon Jae-in won the presidential election. He got 41.1% of the plurality votes, with Hong Joon-pyo coming second with 24%.


Economic policies [1]

  • Support a fair market economy.
  • Create a basis for the growth of agricultural, livestock and fisheries industries and develop agricultural and fishing villages.
  • Promote innovation and prepare South Korea for the jobs of the future.
  • Establish department in charge of science and technology policy.
  • Establish innovative economy and prepare for future society.
  • Raise minimum wage.

Social policies [2]

  • Establish a social safety net.
  • Guarantee healthcare and housing as a basic right.
  • Ensure equal opportunity for all no matter background.
  • Expand educational support for marginalized class.
  • Bring creativity and innovation to the forefront of public schooling.
  • Ensure fair and equal educational opportunities.
  • Supporting a Korea of gender equality.
  • Promote a society where the everyone lives together in peace.

Foreign policies [3]

  • Raise the morale of the military and strengthen rewards for veterans.
  • Strong Korea-U.S. alliance and proactive cooperative diplomacy with neighbouring countries.
  • Expand support for the enhancement of rights of Korean expatriates overseas.

Reunification of North and South Korea [4]

  • Strongly support denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and establish peace regime.
  • Create foundation for reunification through exchange and cooperation.
  • Expand support for North Korean human rights and people’s welfare.
  • Actively pursue Northern economy.

Political reform [5]

  • Recover people's trust in government after the 2016 South Korean political scandal.
  • Abolish corruption and realize a corruption-free society.
  • Give more money to local governments.
  • Integrate representative democracy and direct democracy.

List of leaders


  • Note: ERC - as head of Emergency Response Committee
No. Chairperson Tenure
1 Ahn Cheol-soo 26 March 2014 31 July 2014
Kim Han-gil
Park Young-sunERC 4 August 2014 18 September 2014
Moon Hee-sangERC 18 September 2014 9 February 2015
2 Moon Jae-in 9 February 2015 27 January 2016
Kim Chong-inERC 27 January 2016 27 August 2016
3 Choo Mi-ae 27 August 2016 Incumbent

Assembly leaders (Floor leaders)

No. Assembly leader Tenure
1 Jun Byung-hun (전병헌) 26 March 2014 7 May 2014
2 Park Young-sun 7 May 2014 2 October 2014
Kim Young-rok (김영록) 2 October 2014 8 October 2014
3 Woo Yoon-keun (우윤근) 8 October 2014 6 May 2015
4 Lee Jong-kul 6 May 2015 4 May 2016
5 Woo Sang-ho (우상호) 4 May 2016 16 May 2017
6 Woo Won-shik 16 May 2017 Incumbent

Election results

Presidential elections

Election Candidate Total votes Share of votes Outcome
2017 Moon Jae-in 13,423,800 41.1% Elected Green tickY

Legislative elections

Election Total seats won Total votes Share of votes Outcome of election Election leader
123 / 300
6,069,744 25.5% Increase 21 seats; Plurality Opposition Kim Chong-in

Local elections

Election Metropolitan mayor/Governor Provincial legislature Municipal mayor Municipal legislature Election leader
9 / 17
349 / 789
78 / 226
1,157 / 2,898
Kim Han-gil
Ahn Cheol-soo


  1. ^ Officially described as "sea blue" (바다파랑) by the party.
  2. ^ 共同民主黨 or other variants are translated names in Chinese and Japanese.
  3. ^ Officially "The Minjoo Party of Korea" or "The Minjoo", including "The" in their name. Also known as the "Minju Party" after the Revised Romanization of the Korean, and known in languages other than Korean, Chinese and Japanese as "Democratic Party of Korea".

See also


  1. ^ a b Encyclopædia Brittanica
  2. ^ "An Identity Crisis for South Korea's Opposition". The Diplomat. 31 December 2015. South Korea's main opposition social-liberal party is reeling (again) from intraparty factional struggle. Rebranded earlier this week "the Minjoo Party of Korea" (formerly New Politics Alliance for Democracy), the party is searching for a new identity and direction after high profile and popular assemblyperson Ahn Cheol-soo defected on December 13. 
  3. ^ Chae, Jongwon (2014-03-31). 안보·경제민주화 양축...金·安 공동대표 가능성 (in Korean). Maeil Economy. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Park, Cheoljoong (2014-03-16). 바다파랑 '새정치민주연합', 썩지 않는 바다처럼 (in Korean). News1. Retrieved 2014-04-22. 
  7. ^ Park, Seung-ju (2016-10-19). 더민주, 오늘 원외 민주당 통합...'민주당' 이름 되찾는다 (in Korean). News1. Retrieved 2016-10-19. 
  8. ^ Main Opposition To Be Called 'The Minjoo Party Of Korea'. tbs. 2015-12-30. Retrieved 2015-12-30. 
  9. ^ Choi, He-suk (2014-03-20). 새정치민주연합 영문 당명 확정 (in Korean). The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2014-04-22. 
  10. ^ "Democratic Party, Ahn Cheol-soo agree to create new party". The Dong-A Ilbo. 3 March 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2016. 
  11. ^ "Co-chairmen quit amid election rubble". Korea JoongAng Daily. 1 August 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2016. 
  12. ^ a b "Main opposition party picks ex-Roh aide as new leader". 
  13. ^ "Roh son's speech creates stir". The Korea Times. 24 May 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  14. ^ a b "In liberal stronghold, voters give main opposition party a lashing". The Hankyoreh. 14 April 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  15. ^ "NPAD supporters wish for troika". Korea JoongAng Daily. 18 November 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  16. ^ "Ahn rejects Moon's call for joint NPAD leadership". The Korea Herald. 29 November 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2016. 
  17. ^ "NPAD's Moon rejects Ahn demand". Korea JoongAng Daily. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2016. 
  18. ^ "Ahn Cheol-soo calls it quits with NPAD". The Korea Times. 13 December 2015. Archived from the original on 25 April 2016. Retrieved 15 April 2016. 
  19. ^ "Kim departs party he co-founded". Korea JoongAng Daily. 4 January 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2016. 
  20. ^ "Ahn vows to move forward as 3rd political force". The Korea Herald. 4 January 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2016. 
  21. ^ "Former Kim DJ aide exits Minjoo Party". The Korea Herald. 12 January 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  22. ^ "Ahn Cheol-Soo, Chun Jung-Bae To Create New Party". TBS eFM. 25 January 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2016. [permanent dead link]
  23. ^ "Moon Jae-in steps down as leader of The Minjoo Party of Korea". The Hankyoreh. 28 January 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  24. ^ a b "Minjoo's identity must be changed: Kim Chong-in". Korea JoongAng Daily. 24 March 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  25. ^ "South Koreans go to the polls in parliamentary election". Business Insider. 13 April 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  26. ^ "Can a Right Wing Defector Save Korea's Liberal Opposition?". The Diplomat. 22 March 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2016. 
  27. ^ "South Korean president replaces minister, 6 Cabinet members". United Press International. 19 July 1989. Retrieved 18 April 2016. 
  28. ^ a b "Former P.M. quits Minjoo Party in nomination feud". The Korea Herald. 15 March 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  29. ^ "Kim Jong-in Gets Rid of Pro-Roh Dominance and Replaces the Mainstream: Signs of Factional Conflict". The Kyunghyang Shinmun. 15 April 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  30. ^ "Opposition chief quells dissenters". The Korea Herald. 23 March 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  31. ^ "Opposition party shifting to growth". The Korea Times. 21 April 2016. Archived from the original on 22 April 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2016. 

External links

  • Official website (in Korean)
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