Defectors from UPP to form new partyDefectors from the Unified Progressive Party will create a new political entity next month so they can play an active role in the upcoming presidential elections.
In a news conference held at the National Assembly, lawmakers such as Roh Hoe-chan and Sim Sang-jeung, and former Health Minister Rhyu Si-min said they have decided to officially start work to create a new party for progressive laborers with broad public support.
It said the new progressive party will be set up in stages with a preparatory committee to be launched on Oct. 7 with the initial launching event to take place on Oct. 21. The UPP defectors said the new party will be fully built up in 2013 after the Dec. 19 presidential elections.
“The reason for the party being set up in stages is to create an entity that can attract people who have been alienated by current political parties,” said Roh.
He said this is necessary because the Democratic United Party’s presidential hopeful Moon Jae-in and independent contender Ahn Cheol-soo cannot draw in all progressive voters.
This year’s presidential race is expected to be very close and will require all candidates to consolidate their respective support bases and get voters to come to the polling booths.
The new progressive party is widely expected to rally support behind a single opposition candidate that political pundits expect will be decided in November.
Moon, the former chief of staff to late President Roh Moo-hyun, and Ahn, a software entrepreneur turned politician, are currently running neck-and-neck in the polls for who is best qualified to run for president.
The seven lawmakers and other former members of the UPP defected from the party earlier in the month following factional infighting and reluctance by some hardliners in the party to expel two lawmakers.