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Ruling, Minor Party Revive Coalition

Jan 08,2001
President Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-pil announced Monday that the coalition between the ruling Millennium Democratic Party and the minor United Liberal Democrats had been officially revived.

The reunion is not the widely expected merger of the two parties. Kim Jong-pil, the honorary president of the United Liberal Democrats, denied that a merger is planned.

The two Kims, who met along with their wives at the Blue House, issued a communique in which they agreed to meet once a month and reactivate their parties' joint policy committee.

As the two leaders cemented the alliance, the United Liberal Democrats ousted their vice president, Kang Chang-hee, for refusing to accept the three ruling party lawmakers who defected to the minor camp last year.

The defection of Reps. Bae Ki-sun, Song Sok-chan and Song Young-jin on Dec. 30 was engineered to give the party, which held 17 seats, the minimum 20 needed to qualify as a negotiating group. The defection was considered a prelude to the renewal of alliance between the two parties.

The opposition leader, Lee Hoi-chang of the Grand National Party, vowed to fight the renewed coalition and what he termed tactical oppression of the opposition.

"I will fight against it and I put my political career on the line," Mr. Lee said.

The united front brings together partners in a coalition that was severed last year as each pursued its own agenda during the April 13 general election.

The nation's political landscape is now revised into a coalition ruling camp with 135 seats against the Grand National Party's 133 in the 273-seat National Assembly.

The new alliance is expected to result in a delay of the planned reshuffle of the cabinet, as it obligates the president to come up with candidates from the United Liberal Democrats for cabinet positions.

by Kim Ji-soo




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