Democratic Party proposes liberal alliance, gets rejected

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Democratic Party proposes liberal alliance, gets rejected

The Democratic Party proposed a liberal alliance with the People’s Party on Thursday.

Rep. Woo Sang-ho, floor leader of the DP, made the proposal in his speech at the National Assembly. Woo, who represents the largest political party, was the first speaker in a series of speeches from the legislature’s four negotiation groups.

The Saenuri Party will give its speech today, then the People’s Party will speak on Monday and the Bareun Party on Tuesday.

“It is experts’ consensus that a presidential victory will be guaranteed when the DP and the People’s Party join forces,” Woo said. “If a merger is difficult due to various reasons, we must start a negotiation to plan for a coalition government.”

He also said no president can have a majority backing in the National Assembly if the current four-party system remains.

The People’s Party, the third largest political group in the legislature, rejected Woo’s proposal.

“We created this party to criticize the DP’s factionalism-driven politics and high-handedness and we won the general election victory,” Rep. Park Jie-won, chairman of the People’s Party and former member of the DP, said. “For the sake of showing respect to our party, no further proposal of an alliance or merger should be made. It will never happen.”

The proposal came as the People’s Party celebrated its first anniversary on Thursday. Ahn Cheol-soo, a software mogul-turned-lawmaker, launched the People’s Party last year with a group of defectors from the DP.

It rejected the DP’s offer for a merger last year before the general election in April, and won 38 seats, making it a brand-new political force. With its success in the general election, a three-party system was introduced in Korea for the first time in 20 years.

The conservatives were also split recently between the Saenuri Party and Bareun Party, largely dividing the National Assembly among four groups.

“Many of the People’s Party lawmakers who think the party cannot win the presidential election alone are showing interest in the liberal alliance,” said an associate of Woo. “Because the support groups and identities of the two parties overlap, running the country by forming a coalition government will empower us further.”

Other political observers also said the conservatives are currently split, but they may reunite if an early presidential election takes place after the Constitutional Court removes President Park Geun-hye. They said a liberal alliance is necessary to counter a conservative remarriage.

Presidential contenders of the DP presidential primary also agree to the need for a liberal alliance and a coalition government.

Moon Jae-in, the current frontrunner, said he is open to form a liberal alliance with multiple political parties, if necessary.

BY SER MYO-JA, WI MOON-HEE [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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