Democratic Party of Korea

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Democratic Party

President of South KoreaMoon Jae-in
LeaderLee Hae-chan
Floor leaderLee In-young
Secretary GeneralYun Ho-jung
Chair of the Policy Planning CommitteeCho Jeong-sik
Founded18 September 1955 (1955-09-18)
(Democratic Party)[1]
26 March 2014 (2014-03-26)
(New Politics Alliance for Democracy)
28 December 2015 (2015-12-28)
(Democratic Party of Korea)
Merger ofMinjoo Party
Preceded byDemocratic Party
New Politics Alliance
Headquarters7, Gukhoe-daero 68-gil, Yeongdeungpo District, Seoul
Membership (2018)3,579,111
Social liberalism[5]
Social conservatism[6][7]
Political positionCentre[4][8][9][10][11][12][13][14]
to centre-left[15]
ColoursBlue[N 1][16]
Seats in the National Assembly
128 / 300
Metropolitan mayor and Gubernatorial
14 / 17
Municipal Mayors
151 / 226
Seats within local government
2,290 / 3,750
Democratic Party of Korea
더불어民主黨[N 2]
Revised RomanizationDeobureominjudang
The Minjoo
Revised RomanizationDeominju
Democratic Party
Revised RomanizationMinjudang
Headquarters of the Democratic Party

The Democratic Party,[17] also known as the Minjoo Party of Korea[N 3] (Korean더불어민주당; Hanja더불어民主黨; RRDeobureominjudang; lit. Together Democratic Party; short form 민주, 더민주 "Minjoo", "Deominjoo", now known as "Minjudang" 민주당 in South Korean media since 2016),[18] formerly the New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD),[19] is a centrist, 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)[edit]

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.[20] 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.[21]

Ahn–Moon controversy and split (2015–16)[edit]

The next year, at a party convention on February 7, Moon Jae-in was elected the new chairman of the party.[22] Moon, who had previously served as chief of staff for former president Roh Moo-hyun,[22] 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.[23]

The party hemorrhaged support as the factional conflict intensified, falling from around 40 to 30 percent in opinion polls.[24] 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.[25] On November 29, Ahn rejected a proposal from Moon to establish a joint leadership,[26] 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,[27] and Ahn left the party.[28]

Ahn was followed by a number of supportive NPAD assembly members, including his former co-leader Kim Han-gil,[29] and the group began preparations to form a new party.[30] 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".[31] Meanwhile, Ahn and Kim merged their group with that of another defector from the NPAD, Chun Jung-bae, to form the People's Party.[32]

Following the defections, the NPAD was renamed the Minjoo Party of Korea, and Moon resigned on 27 January 2016.[33] 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.[34][35] 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,[36] serving as an assembly member for the ruling Democratic Justice Party and as health and welfare minister under Roh.[37]

Under Kim Chong-in (January–August 2016)[edit]

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.[38] 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.[39] Lee left the party in response.[38] 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.[40] 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".[34]

Though losing votes to the People's Party formed by Ahn, Chun and Kim Han-gil—particularly in Honam[24]—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.[41]

2017 presidential election victory[edit]

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


The Party has a wide range of policies; some of these include:[42]

Economic policies[edit]

  • 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[edit]

  • 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 gender equality and oppose discrimination.
  • Promote a society where the everyone lives together in peace.

Foreign policies[edit]

  • 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[edit]

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

Political reform[edit]

  • 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[edit]


  • Note: ERC - as head of Emergency Response Committee
No. Name Term of office Election results
Took office Left office
1 Co-leadership
Kim Han-gil   Ahn Cheol-soo
26 March 2014 31 July 2014 No election
Park Young-sunERC 4 August 2014 18 September 2014 Appointed
Moon Hee-sangERC 18 September 2014 9 February 2015 Appointed
2 Moon Jae-in 9 February 2015 27 January 2016 see 2015 election
Kim Chong-inERC 27 January 2016 27 August 2016 Appointed
3 Choo Mi-ae 27 August 2016 25 August 2018 see 2016 election
4 Lee Hae-chan 25 August 2018 Incumbent see 2018 election

Assembly leaders (Floor leaders)[edit]

No. Name Term of office
Took office Left office
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 11 May 2018
7 Hong Young-pyo (홍영표) 11 May 2018 8 May 2019
8 Lee In-young (이인영) 8 May 2019 Incumbent

Election results[edit]

Presidential elections[edit]

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

Legislative elections[edit]

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[edit]

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
14 / 17
652 / 824
151 / 226
1,638 / 2,927
Choo Mi-ae


  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[edit]


  1. ^ "우리의 발자취". Democratic Party. 더불어민주당. Retrieved 21 July 2018.
  2. ^ "South Korea struggles to digest strange new reality of Kim Jong Un bonding with White House". Washington Post. 13 June 2018. Elections for local councils and other regional seats across South Korea on Wednesday tipped strongly in favor of Moon’s liberal Minjoo Party, according to exit polls, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported.
  3. ^ "Moon Jae-in of the liberal Minjoo Party won with 41 percent of the vote". Freedom House.
  4. ^ a b "Political Populism: Eroding Asia's Complex Interdependence? – Analysis". Eurasia Review. 1 November 2019. The South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s centrist-liberal Democratic Party has also reflected and tactically deployed the considerable popular nationalist sentiment in South Korean society as he vowed in early August that in the escalating bilateral trade dispute the country would “never again lose to Japan”.
  5. ^ "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.
  6. ^ "The politics of homophobia in South Korea". East Asia Forum. 4 July 2016.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "South Korea: Economic and Political Outline". Santander. July 2019. Retrieved 21 July 2019. The Minjoo Party: centre, socially liberal main opposition party, result of a 2014 merger between the Democratic Party and the New Political Vision Party, first party in the Parliament since August 2017
  9. ^ "Democratic Party of Korea". Democratic Party of Korea (DP), Korean Daeburo Minjudang, centrist-liberal political party in South Korea.
  10. ^ "The Justice Party and the South Korean Left: A movement with potential, but divided and struggling". Europe Elects. 14 November 2019. With most of national politics dominated by the centrist Democratic Party and the right-wing Liberty Korea Party (자유한국당), successor to the former governing Saenuri Party, there is little space for the Justice Party to find an opening for electoral success.
  11. ^ "Topic Brief - Academy Model United Nations" (PDF). ACADEMY MODEL UNITED NATIONS XXI.
  12. ^ Ahn, JH (19 September 2016). "South Korea split over whether to aid "arch-nemesis" in flood relief". NK Her party, Saenuri, has also remained silent on the issue, in sharp contrast to centrist Minjoo Party [sic], which on Monday urged Seoul to look beyond politics and help its neighbor.
  13. ^ "Moon to swing toward centrist line from a progressive stand". The Korea Post. 9 February 2015.
  14. ^ "Ahn Cheol-soo who pursues national leader could not materialize his beliefs in the place where there are only two MPs- Seol Hun, member of Minjoo party". YTN Radio. 18 March 2014. Seol Hun "To wit NPAD is centrist party. "
  15. ^ "Moon Jae-in: South Korean liberal claims presidency". BBC. 9 May 2017. Retrieved 2 October 2019. Mr Moon, of the centre-left Democratic Party, unsuccessfully ran against Ms Park in 2012 elections.
  16. ^ Park, Cheoljoong (16 March 2014). 바다파랑 '새정치민주연합', 썩지 않는 바다처럼 (in Korean). News1. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  17. ^ Park, Seung-ju (19 October 2016). 더민주, 오늘 원외 민주당 통합...'민주당' 이름 되찾는다 (in Korean). News1. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  18. ^ "Main Opposition To Be Called 'The Minjoo Party Of Korea'". Traffic Broadcasting System. 30 December 2015. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  19. ^ Choi, He-suk (20 March 2014). 새정치민주연합 영문 당명 확정 (in Korean). The Korea Herald. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  20. ^ "Democratic Party, Ahn Cheol-soo agree to create new party". The Dong-A Ilbo. 3 March 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  21. ^ "Co-chairmen quit amid election rubble". Korea JoongAng Daily. 1 August 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  22. ^ a b "Main opposition party picks ex-Roh aide as new leader".
  23. ^ "Roh son's speech creates stir". The Korea Times. 24 May 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  24. ^ a b "In liberal stronghold, voters give main opposition party a lashing". The Hankyoreh. 14 April 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  25. ^ "NPAD supporters wish for troika". Korea JoongAng Daily. 18 November 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  26. ^ "Ahn rejects Moon's call for joint NPAD leadership". The Korea Herald. 29 November 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  27. ^ "NPAD's Moon rejects Ahn demand". Korea JoongAng Daily. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  28. ^ "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.
  29. ^ "Kim departs party he co-founded". Korea JoongAng Daily. 4 January 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  30. ^ "Ahn vows to move forward as 3rd political force". The Korea Herald. 4 January 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  31. ^ "Former Kim DJ aide exits Minjoo Party". The Korea Herald. 12 January 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  32. ^ "Ahn Cheol-Soo, Chun Jung-Bae To Create New Party". TBS eFM. 25 January 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2016.[permanent dead link]
  33. ^ "Moon Jae-in steps down as leader of The Minjoo Party of Korea". The Hankyoreh. 28 January 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  34. ^ a b "Minjoo's identity must be changed: Kim Chong-in". Korea JoongAng Daily. 24 March 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  35. ^ "South Koreans go to the polls in parliamentary election". Business Insider. 13 April 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  36. ^ "Can a Right Wing Defector Save Korea's Liberal Opposition?". The Diplomat. 22 March 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  37. ^ "South Korean president replaces minister, 6 Cabinet members". United Press International. 19 July 1989. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  38. ^ a b "Former P.M. quits Minjoo Party in nomination feud". The Korea Herald. 15 March 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  39. ^ "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.
  40. ^ "Opposition chief quells dissenters". The Korea Herald. 23 March 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  41. ^ "Opposition party shifting to growth". The Korea Times. 21 April 2016. Archived from the original on 22 April 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  42. ^

External links[edit]