Minor opposition lawmakers defect en masse

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Minor opposition lawmakers defect en masse

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Lawmakers from the minor opposition Party for Democracy and Peace announce their defection at the National Assembly on Monday. [KIM KYUNG-ROK]

About two-thirds of minor opposition Party for Democracy and Peace (PDP) lawmakers announced their defection Monday, heralding a major political realignment ahead of next year’s parliamentary elections.

Nine out of 14 PDP lawmakers defected from the No. 4 party en masse after leader Chung Dong-young rejected their demand for his resignation.

Another lawmaker, who officially belongs to the third-largest Bareunmirae Party but has been active in the PDP, will also resign from her party post.

The 10 lawmakers pledged to create a new middle-of-the-road party to challenge the domination of the two largest liberal and conservative parties.

“We are setting out to explore a new alternative to reconstruct Korean politics,” they said in a statement read during a news conference at the National Assembly.

They accused the ruling Democratic Party and the opposition Liberty Korea Party “of disregarding people’s sufferings and only seeking to maintain their vested interests,” and said the centrist forces lack the capability to represent people disappointed with the two parties.

“We will bring together the divided and disordered third-party ranks and turn them into a sound and healthy political force and will serve as priming water for the construction of a new alternative party,” they said.

They are widely expected to join forces with some liberal members of the Bareunmirae party to create a new party by November to prepare for the general elections scheduled for April.

The Bareunmirae party, which has 28 lawmakers, was created in February 2018 from the merger of two centrist parties - the People’s Party and the Bareun Party.

Some People’s Party members who opposed the merger launched the PDP in the same month.

One more legislator is also expected to leave the PDP in the afternoon.

Their defection will leave the PDP with only four lawmakers, ranking fifth after the leftist Justice Party, which holds five parliamentary seats.

Yonhap

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