Korean Social Democratic Party

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Korean Social Democratic Party
Chairman of the Central CommitteeKim Yong-dae
First Vice-ChairmanKang Pyong-hak[1]
Founded3 November 1945 (1945-11-03)
HeadquartersPyongyang, North Korea[2]
MembershipMore than 30,000
IdeologySocial democracy[3]
National affiliationDemocratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland
SloganIndependence, sovereignty, democracy, peace and the defence of human rights
Supreme People's Assembly
50 / 687
Party flag
Flag of the Social Democratic Party of Korea.jpg
Korean Social Democratic Party
Revised RomanizationJoseon Sahoe Minjudang
McCune–ReischauerChosŏn Sahoe Minjudang

The Korean Social Democratic Party (Chosŏn'gŭl조선사회민주당; MRChosŏn Sahoe Minjudang; KSDP) is a political party in North Korea, allied with the ruling Workers' Party of Korea. It was formed on 3 November 1945 as Korean Democratic Party by medium and small entrepreneurs, merchants, handicraftsmen, petite bourgeoisie, some peasants and Christians, out of anti-imperialist and anti-feudal aspirations and demands to eliminate the legacy of Japanese rule and to build a democratic society.

Limited information about the party's activities is published, apart from the name of its leader.[4] The party is currently headed by Kim Yong-dae, whose title is Chairman of the Central Committee of the Korean Social Democratic Party,[5] and vice-president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly since the election of 2009.

The party came more under the influence of the government over time and today is a part of the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland, a group of political parties which make up the government.

As of January 2007, the party had more than 30,000 members.[6]


Launching of the Democratic Party of Korea

The party was established in Pyongyang by Cho Man-sik on 3 November 1945 as the Korean Democratic Party.[7][8] It quickly gained support from Christian businessmen and intellectuals, as well as well-off workers, and had around half a million members after only a few weeks.[7] However, the party was blamed for a series of anti-communist and anti-Soviet riots, and after Cho opposed the results of the Moscow Conference in December (which was supported by the communists and Soviets), he was arrested by the Soviets.[7] Cho's arrest led to many of the party's leaders moving to Seoul in South Korea, where they set up a new headquarters;[7] the party nominated five candidates for the May 1948 Constitutional Assembly elections in South Korea, winning one seat, taken by Yi Yun-yong.[9]

In North Korea the party was taken over by new leadership headed by communist Choe Yong-gon and subsequently joined the pro-Soviet Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland, after which it became subordinate to the Workers' Party of Korea. Its candidates were given 35 seats in the August 1948 elections and eleven in 1957. In 1959 and 1960 all of the party's offices were shut down by the government.[7] It was subsequently reduced to four seats in 1962 and one in 1967 and 1972. In 1980 it adopted its current name.[10]

The 1990 elections saw the party awarded 51 seats.[11] It had 52 seats following the 1998 elections and 50 after the 2009 elections.[12][13] It retained the same number of seats in the 2014 elections.[14]


The Korean Democratic Party was renamed Social Democratic Party in 1981. The likely reason for the new name was that social democracy is considered an acceptable, even admirable, ideology by foreigners. Since then, the party has been used in North Korean propaganda targeting foreign sympathizers. Because of the ostensible social democratic ideology, which is intelligible to foreigners, the Social Democratic Party is used in such propaganda much more than the other legal minor party, Chondoist Chongu Party. In the 1990s, KSDP published a periodical in Korean, Social Democratic Party of Korea and two in English, Korean Social Democratic Party and KSDP Says.... These magazines sought to simultaneously convince foreigners that North Korea has a multi-party system with independent parties but that, paradoxically, minor parties in North Korea support the Workers' Party of Korea without reservation.[15]

Theoretically, the party adheres to national social democracy befitting Korea's historical conditions and national characteristics and its basic political motto is "independence, sovereignty, democracy, peace and the defence of human rights".[16]

It is part of the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland, a coalition with another legal party in the DPRK, the Chondoist Chongu Party, alongside the Workers' Party of Korea.

Election results[edit]

Parliamentary elections[edit]

Election date Number of deputies Ref
35 / 572
11 / 215
4 / 383
1 / 457
1 / 541
1977 unknown / 579 [18]
1982 unknown / 615 [18]
1986 unknown / 655 [18]
51 / 687
53 / 687
2003 unknown / 687 [20]
50 / 687
50 / 687

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Europa World Year: Kazakhstan - Zimbabwe. Taylor & Francis. 2004. p. 2482. ISBN 978-1-85743-255-8.
  2. ^ The Europa World Year: Kazakhstan – Zimbabwe. London: Europa Publications. 2004. p. 2481. ISBN 978-1-85743-255-8.
  3. ^ "Korean Social Democratic Party". Naenara. Foreign Languages Publishing House of the DPR Korea. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  4. ^ North Korea - Mass Organizations Library of Congress Country Studies
  5. ^ North Side Committee for Implementing June 15 Joint Declaration Meets, KCNA, 30 January 2007.
  6. ^ Korean politics Chinese Embassy in North Korea (in Chinese)
  7. ^ a b c d e Haruhiro Fukui (1985) Political parties of Asia and the Pacific, Greenwood Press, pp652–653
  8. ^ North Korea Handbook. Seoul: Yonhap News Agency. 2002. p. 1128. ISBN 978-0-7656-3523-5.
  9. ^ "조선민주당". Encyclopedia of Korean Culture. 1948년 5월 10일의 제헌의원선거에 조선민주당측에서 부당수인 이윤영을 비롯하여 5명이 출마하였으나 이윤영만이 서울 종로갑구에서 당선되었다 (In the Constituent Assembly election on 10 May 1948 five candidates from the Korean Democratic Party were running, but only Yi Yun-yong was elected in Jongno District in Seoul)
  10. ^ Dieter Nohlen, Florian Grotz & Christof Hartmann (2001) Elections in Asia and the Pacific: A Data Handbook: South East Asia, East Asia, and the Pacific Volume 2, p404 ISBN 0-19-924959-8
  11. ^ Elections held in 1990 IPU
  12. ^ Elections held in 1998 IPU
  13. ^ Elections in 2009 IPU
  14. ^ Last elections IPU
  15. ^ Tertitskiy, Fyodor (26 November 2014). "Being a minor party in the North: In a totalitarian regime, what do N. Korea's other political blocs do?". NK News. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  16. ^ Korean Social Democratic Party Archived 9 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine Naenara
  17. ^ a b c d e f Nohlen, Dieter; Grotz, Florian; Hartmann, Christof (2001). Elections in Asia: A data handbook. 2. p. 404. ISBN 0-19-924959-8.
  18. ^ a b c North Korea Handbook. Seoul: Yonhap News Agency. 2002. Table 18. ISBN 978-0-7656-3523-5.
  19. ^ "DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF KOREA: parliamentary elections Choe Go In Min Hoe Ui, 1990". IPU. 1990. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  20. ^ "IPU PARLINE database: DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF KOREA (Choe Go In Min Hoe Ui), Elections in 2003". IPU. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  21. ^ "IPU PARLINE database: DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF KOREA (Choe Go In Min Hoe Ui), ELECTIONS IN 2009". archive.ipu.org. Inter-Parliamentary Union. Retrieved 2018-08-04.
  22. ^ "IPU PARLINE Database: Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Choe Go In Min Hoe Ui". Inter-Parliamentary Union.

External links[edit]