New party with 30 parliament seats launches in Korea

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Published on 13 Feb 2018, 12:19
바른미래당 창당... 30석 제3당 출범

In the domestic political arena.
A merger between two minor opposition blocs.
Together they become the country's third largest party and will likely hold the deciding vote in parliamentary affairs.
Kim Min-ji zooms in on the creation of a new party that could shift the political paradigm at the national assembly.
A new political power is on the scene in Korea... with the launch of the 'Bareun Mirae Party.'
Formed through a merger of the center-left People's Party and the center-right Bareun Party,... the new party becomes the country's third largest... with 30 parliament seats.
It will have two co-leaders,... and also a number of political bigwigs,... including two former presidential candidates under one roof.

"Our party will bring together rational conservatives and sound progressives to create a new party that reflects the spirit of the generation and meets the people's aspirations. We will be a force that achieves sincere reform."

"What is the identity of the Bareun Mirae Party? It starts from our determination to go on the right path for the prosperity and safety of the Korean people,... the happiness of all citizens,... and for upholding the value and dignity of all people."

The merger was rather unusual... in that the two sides have opposite support bases,... raising questions about whether they'll be able to work around their differences.

"The new party vowed to break away from the ways of the past -- by which they mean ideology and regionalism -- and write a new chapter in Korea's politics. They said they will position the party as a powerful alternative... to the two major blocs."

The launch comes about two months after the merger procedures began.
But it was a turbulent process -- more than a dozen lawmakers defected from the People's Party to form a new party of their own,... saying the merger obscures the party's political identity.
They created the liberal Party for Democracy and Peace earlier this month.
On top of the defections, the two merging parties had trouble until the last minute fine-tuning their party identity and platform.
In fact, practically speaking, the party will have fewer votes -- about 27 or 28 -- since a few lawmakers have said openly they share the stance of the dissenters... but can't leave the party because they were elected by proportional representation.

But the new party has enough seats to become a negotiating bloc,... along with the ruling Democratic Party of Korea and the main opposition Liberty Korea Party.
It will be seen as holding the deciding vote,... together with the Party for Democracy and Peace -- since the two biggest parties have a difference of only four seats.

In the opposition-led parliament,... it remains to be seen how the ruling bloc will get along with the new young parties.
Depending on how the minor opposition parties position themselves -- it could empower either the ruling bloc or the main opposition.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.

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