Liberty Korea Party
|Founded||21 November 1997|
(Grand National Party)
2 February 2012
13 February 2017
(Liberty Korea Party)
|Dissolved||17 February 2020|
|Merger of||United Liberal Democrats|
Future Hope Alliance
Advancement Unification Party
Evergreen Korea Party
|Preceded by||New Korea Party|
United Democratic Party
|Merged into||United Future Party|
|Headquarters||18, Gukhoe-daero 70-gil|
|Membership (2018)||Approximately 3,500,000|
|Political position||Right-wing to far-right|
Centre-right to right-wing
|Regional affiliation||Asia Pacific Democrat Union|
|International affiliation||International Democrat Union|
|Slogan||Together, into the future|
|Liberty Korea Party (2017–2020)|
|Korea Party (2017–2020)|
|Saenuri Party (2012–2017)|
|Grand National Party (1997–2012)|
The Liberty Korea Party (Korean: 자유한국당; Hanja: 自由韓國黨; RR: Jayuhangukdang) was a conservative political party in South Korea that was described variously as right-wing, right-wing populist, or far-right. Until February 2017, it was known as the Saenuri Party (Korean: 새누리당; lit. New Frontier Party), and before that as the Hannara Party (Korean: 한나라당; lit. Grand National Party, or GNP) from 1997 to 2012, both of which are still colloquially used to refer to the party. The party formerly held a plurality of seats in the 20th Assembly before its ruling status was transferred to the Democratic Party of Korea on 27 December 2016, following the creation of the splinter Bareun Party by former Saenuri members who distanced themselves from President Park Geun-hye in the 2016 South Korean political scandal.
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1997: Foundation of Grand National party
Its earliest ancestor was the Democratic Republican Party under the authoritarian rule of Park Chung-hee in 1963. On Park's death, and at the beginning of the rule of Chun Doo-hwan in 1980, it was reconstituted and renamed as the Democratic Justice Party. In 1988, party member Roh Tae-woo introduced a wide range of political reforms including direct presidential elections and a new constitution.
The party was renamed in 1993, during the presidency of Kim Young-sam, with the merger of other parties to form the Democratic Liberal Party (Minju Jayudang). It was renamed as the New Korea Party (Sinhangukdang) in 1995, and it then became the Grand National Party in November 1997 following its merger with the smaller United Democratic Party and various conservative parties.
1998–2007: Lost ten years
Three months later, in 1998, with the election of Kim Dae-jung of the Democratic Party as president, the conservative party's governing role came to an end, and it began its first ever period in opposition, which would last ten years. In October 2012, the Advancement Unification Party merged with the Saenuri Party.
Following the 2000 parliamentary elections, it was the single largest political party, with 54% of the vote and 133 seats out of 271. The party continued to control the National Assembly.
The party was defeated in the parliamentary election in 2004 following the attempted impeachment of President Roh Moo-hyun, gaining only 121 seats out of 299. The party's defeat reflected public disapproval of the attempted impeachment, which was instigated by the party. This was the first time in its history the party had not won the most seats. It gained back five seats in by-elections, bringing it to 127 seats as of 28 October 2005.
2008–2012: Recovering position of the ruling party and Lee Myung-bak government
In the April 2008 general election, the GNP secured a majority of 153 seats out of 299 and gained power in the administration and the parliament as well as most local governments, despite low voter turnout.
One of the main bases of popular support of the party originates from the conservative, traditionalist elite and the rural population, except for farmers. It is strongest in the Gyeongsang region. Former party head, and 2007 presidential candidate, Park Geun-hye is the daughter of former President Park Chung-hee who ruled from 1961 to 1979. Although Representative Won Hee-ryeong and Hong Jun-pyo ran for the party primary as reformist candidates, former Seoul mayor and official presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak gained more support (about 40%) from the Korean public.
The Grand National Party celebrated its 14th anniversary on 21 November 2011, amid uncertainties from intra-party crises.
2012–2016: Renaming to Saenuri party and Park Geun-hye government
Emergency Response Commission
The Hong Jun-pyo leadership system collapsed on 9 December 2011, and the GNP Emergency Response Commission was launched on 17 December 2011, with Park Geun-hye as commission chairperson, to prepare for the forthcoming Legislative Election 2012 on 11 April 2012, and the Presidential Election 2012 on 19 December 2012.
There was a debate with Commission members about whether to transform the Grand National Party into a non-conservative political party or not, but Park said the GNP would never become non-conservative and will follow the real values of conservatism.
2016–2019: 2016 South Korean political scandal and impeachment
The party's leader and South Korean President Park Geun-hye was impeached and convicted for her role in a corruption scandal.
The Liberty Korea Party merged with Onward for Future 4.0 and the New Conservative Party on 17 February, launching the United Future Party in time for the upcoming 2020 South Korean legislative election.
In February 2012, the party changed its political official color from blue to red. This was a change from the previous 30 years where blue was usually the symbol of the conservative parties.
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The party supports free trade and neoliberal economic policies. It favors maintaining strong cooperation with the United States and Japan while distancing South Korea from North Korea. The party is also conservative on social issues such as opposition to legal recognition of same-sex couples.
Four major rivers project
One of the party's important policies is to financially secure The Four Major Rivers Project since President Lee Myung-bak was in office. This project's budget disputes have sparked controversial political motions in the National Assembly for three consecutive years.
Sejong City project
The party has been less inclined toward the creation of a new capital city for South Korea, to be called Sejong City than the previous administration. As of 2012, the Saenuri Party has indicated that some governmental offices will be relocated to the new city, but not all.
Human rights activism
The party has been very active in promoting the North Korean Human Rights Law, which would officially condemn the use of torture, public executions and other human rights violations in North Korea.
Party representative Ha Tae Kyung is the founder of Open Radio for North Korea, an NGO dedicated to spreading news and information about democracy, to which citizens of North Korea have little access due to their government's isolationist policies. In April 2012, Saenuri member Cho Myung-Chul became the first North Korean defector elected to the National Assembly. In spring 2012, several Saenuri representatives took part in the Save My Friend protests, organized to oppose China's policy of repatriating North Korean defectors, and expressed their solidarity with Park Sun-young's hunger strike.
The party has records of secretly hiring and paying university students to generate online replies favorable to the GNP. GNP member Jin Seong-ho (진성호) formally apologized on 2 July 2009, for making a remark that "the GNP occupied Naver," one of the biggest South Korean internet portals.
8 December 2010, controversial bill-passing
The party passed a bill relating to the year 2011 national budget without the opposition parties' input on 8 December 2010. It had caused legislative violence before. This process of passing the budget bill sparked controversy over potential illegality. Due to this incident, many South Korean political, academic and citizen groups expressed their outrage against current mainstream politics. The reason for forceful passing of the bill was due mainly to the budget disputes over the controversial Four Major Rivers Project. Many Buddhists in South Korea criticized the budget bill for neglecting the national Temple Stay program. This has led the Jogye Order, the largest Buddhist order in South Korea, to sever ties with the GNP and becoming financially independent without any funding from the government. The interns and the staff working in the National Assembly officially complained on 17 December that their salary was unpaid after the passing of this bill.
Views of Individual Party Members
List of leaders
- ERC - as head of Emergency Response Committee
- * - as the de facto head of party
|No.||Term||Name||Term of office||Election results|
|Took office||Left office|
|1||1||Lee Han-dong||21 November 1997||10 April 1998||Appointed|
|*||2||Cho Soon*||10 April 1998||5 August 1998||No election|
|—||—||Lee Han-dong||5 August 1998||31 August 1998||Acting|
|*||3||Lee Hoi-chang*||31 August 1998||22 May 2000||see 1998 election|
|—||—||Seo Cheong-won||22 May 2000||30 May 2000||Acting|
|*||4||Lee Hoi-chang*||30 May 2000||2 April 2002||see 2000 election|
|—||—||Park Kwan-yong||2 April 2002||14 May 2002||Acting|
|2||5||Seo Cheong-won||14 May 2002||30 January 2003||see 2002 election|
|—||—||Park Hee-tae||30 January 2003||26 June 2003||Acting|
|3||6||Choi Byeong-yul||26 June 2003||23 March 2004||see 2003 election|
|4||7||Park Geun-hye||23 March 2004||5 July 2004||see March 2004 election|
|—||—||Kim Deok-ryong||5 July 2004||19 July 2004||Acting|
|(4)||8||Park Geun-hye||19 July 2004||15 June 2006||see July 2004 election|
|—||—||Kim Yeong-seon||15 June 2006||10 July 2006||Acting|
|5||9||Kang Jae-sup||11 July 2006||4 July 2008||see 2006 election|
|6||10||Park Hee-tae||4 July 2008||7 September 2009||see 2008 election|
|7||11||Chung Mong-joon||7 September 2009||4 June 2010||No election|
|—||—||Kim Moo-sungERC||4 June 2010||14 July 2010||Appointed|
|8||12||Ahn Sang-soo||14 July 2010||9 May 2011||see 2010 election|
|—||—||Jeong Ui-hwaERC||9 May 2011||4 July 2011||Appointed|
|9||13||Hong Jun-pyo||4 July 2011||9 December 2011||see 2011 election|
|—||—||Na Kyung-won||9 December 2011||12 December 2011||Acting|
|—||—||Hwang Woo-yea||12 December 2011||19 December 2011||Acting|
|—||—||Park Geun-hyeERC||19 December 2011||15 May 2012||Appointed|
|10||14||Hwang Woo-yea||15 May 2012||15 May 2014||see 2012 election|
|—||—||Lee Wan-kooERC||15 May 2014||14 July 2014||Appointed|
|11||15||Kim Moo-sung||14 July 2014||14 April 2016||see 2014 election|
|—||—||Won Yoo-chul||14 April 2016||11 May 2016||Acting|
|—||—||Chung Jin-suk||11 May 2016||2 June 2016||Acting|
|—||—||Kim Hee-okERC||2 June 2016||9 August 2016||Appointed|
|12||16||Lee Jung-hyun||9 August 2016||16 December 2016||see 2016 election|
|—||—||Chung Woo-taik||16 December 2016||29 December 2016||Acting|
|—||—||In Myung-jinERC||29 December 2016||1 April 2017||Appointed|
|—||—||Chung Woo-taik||1 April 2017||3 July 2017||Acting|
|13||17||Hong Jun-pyo||3 July 2017||14 June 2018||see 2017 election|
|—||—||Kim Sung-tae||14 June 2018||17 July 2018||Acting|
|—||—||Kim Byong-joonERC||17 July 2018||27 February 2019||Appointed|
|14||18||Hwang Kyo-ahn||27 February 2019||17 February 2020||see 2019 election|
Assembly leaders (Floor leaders)
|No.||Name||Term of office|
|Took office||Left office|
|1||Mok Yo-sang||21 November 1997||16 December 1997|
|2||Lee Sang-deuk||16 December 1997||5 April 1998|
|3||Ha Soon-bong||5 April 1998||27 August 1998|
|4||Park Hee-tae||27August 1998||14 January 1999|
|5||Lee Boo-young||14 January 1999||1 June 2000|
|6||Jung Chang-hwa||1 June 2000||13 May 2001|
|7||Lee Jae-oh||13 May 2001||16 May 2002|
|8||Lee Kyu-taek||16 May 2002||29 June 2003|
|9||Hong Sa-duk||29 June 2003||18 May 2004|
|10||Kim Duk-ryong||18 May 2004||4 March 2005|
|11||Kang Jae-sup||4 March 2005||11 January 2006|
|12||Lee Jae-oh||11 January 2006||12 July 2006|
|13||Kim Hyun-goh||12 July 2006||26 August 2007|
|14||Ahn Sang-soo||26 August 2007||17 May 2008|
|15||Hong Jun-pyo||17 May 2008||20 May 2009|
|(14)||Ahn Sang-soo||20 May 2009||3 May 2010|
|16||Kim Moo-sung||3 May 2010||5 May 2011|
|17||Hwang Woo-yea||5 May 2011||8 May 2012|
|18||Lee Hahn-koo||8 May 2012||14 May 2013|
|19||Choi Kyoung-hwan||15 May 2013||7 May 2014|
|20||Lee Wan-koo||7 May 2014||25 January 2015|
|21||Yoo Seong-min||1 February 2015||8 July 2015|
|22||Won Yoo-chul||14 July 2015||3 May 2016|
|23||Chung Jin-suk||3 May 2016||12 December 2016|
|24||Chung Woo-taik||16 December 2016||11 December 2017|
|25||Kim Sung-tae||11 December 2017||11 December 2018|
|26||Na Kyung-won||11 December 2018||17 February 2020|
|Election||Candidate||Total votes||Share of votes||Outcome|
|1997||Lee Hoi-chang||9,935,718||38.7%||Lost N|
|2002||Lee Hoi-chang||11,443,297||46.5%||Lost N|
|2017||Hong Jun-pyo||7,841,017||24%||Lost N|
|Election||Total seats won||Total votes||Share of votes||Outcome of election||Status||Election leader|
133 / 273
|7,365,359||39.0%||6 seats; Minority||Opposition||Lee Hoi-chang|
121 / 299
|7,613,660||35.8%||12 seats; Minority||Opposition||Park Geun-hye|
153 / 299
|6,421,727||37.4%||32 seats; Majority||Governing||Kang Jae-seop|
152 / 300
|9,130,651||42.8%||1 seats; Majority||Governing||Park Geun-hye|
122 / 300
|7,960,272||33.5%||30 seats; Minority||Governing||Kim Moo-sung|
|Election||Metropolitan mayor/Governor||Provincial legislature||Municipal mayor||Municipal legislature||Election leader|
6 / 16
224 / 616
74 / 232
11 / 16
467 / 682
136 / 227
12 / 16
557 / 733
155 / 230
1,621 / 2,888
6 / 16
288 / 761
82 / 228
1,247 / 2,888
8 / 17
416 / 789
117 / 226
1,413 / 2,898
2 / 17
137 / 824
53 / 226
1,009 / 2,927
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Other party members are worried that the confluence of party rallies and demonstrations by the “Taegukgi brigade” in Gwanghwamun and other places is reinforcing the party’s reputation as being on the far right. This impression was clinched by an incident in which party supporters waving Taekgukgi (Korean flags) and American flags encircled the National Assembly while the LKP was attempting to block fast-tracked legislation.
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