DP to begin vote on satellite party initiative

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DP to begin vote on satellite party initiative

The ruling Democratic Party (DP) said Wednesday that an online vote of all members is scheduled for Thursday and Friday to decide whether it will participate in a satellite party initiative to win more proportional seats.

In its announcement of the vote, the DP said it wants to listen to the members’ opinions as to whether it should participate in a satellite political party proposed by liberal civic groups, describing the current circumstances it is facing as an emergency.

The DP said the new proportional representation system was created to guarantee minor parties’ presence, but the main opposition United Future Party (UFP) has abused the rules and launched a satellite party to win more proportional seats and become the largest power in the National Assembly.

The DP said the situation is desperate because it must stop the UFP from becoming the largest group in the legislature while creating a basis for the Moon Jae-in administration’s success and a victory in the next presidential election.

The DP said minor parties and civic groups had proposed that the DP participate in a new party devoted to win proportional seats.

“Because we have criticized the UFP’s operation of the satellite party, it is possible that public opinion will backfire if we follow a similar initiative,” the DP said.

Members of the DP are asked to vote from 6 a.m. Thursday till 6 p.m. Friday using an application or on the homepage of the party’s website. Members with rights to vote in the primaries are eligible to cast ballots. They should have joined the party before July 31, 2019 and paid the monthly membership fees more than six times between Feb. 1, 2019, and Jan. 31, 2020.

Je Youn-kyung, spokeswoman of the DP’s general election campaign committee, said Wednesday that the party is fine-tuning the question to be used in the online vote. The outcome is expected to be announced Friday, she said.

Despite its fierce attacks on the UFP over the past weeks for having created a satellite offshoot to win more proportional seats, the DP started considering the rival’s strategy in recent days. The party held Supreme Council meetings on Sunday and Monday to discuss the issue, and a general assembly of lawmakers took place on Tuesday to talk about pros and cons.

It appeared that the party leadership was already leaning toward the satellite party.

“Our purpose is to punish the UFP, which committed foul play and abused the rules,” Chairman Lee Hae-chan said Wednesday at the Supreme Council meeting. “But if we participate in a satellite party of the liberal groups, we will have to make an unprecedented sacrifice, because we won’t be able to field proportional candidates under our party’s name. But we will face a larger cost, if we fail to win more seats. Therefore, it is extremely important to obtain the consensus of the party members.”

According to the DP lawmakers, the party’s strategy planning committee showed them Tuesday the outcome of a simulation of the general election scenarios.

Based on the hypothesis that the DP will win 130 out of the 253 constituencies, the UFP 119, and the Justice Party one, the strategy committee presented Tuesday several scenarios on proportional representation election outcomes.

The committee assumed that the DP will win 40 percent in the proportional votes, the UFP 39 percent, Justice Party 10 percent, the People’s Party 7 percent and the Party for People’s Livelihoods 4 percent.

If the DP does not participate in the satellite party and fields their own proportional candidates, it will end up with seven seats. The FKP, the satellite party of the UFP, will win 26. In this case, the DP will end up with 137 while the UFP and the FKP together will win 145.

If the DP does not field its own proportional candidates and joins the satellite party, the outcome will be completely reversed. The liberal satellite party will win 19, while the FKP will win 18. In this case, the DP will be able to beat the UFP in both constituencies and proportional representations.

According to sources, about 80 lawmakers attended a discussion on Tuesday after receiving the briefing. Some supported the satellite party strategy, while others showed concerns that centrist voters will withdraw their backing for the DP it follows the conservative’s lead.

BY SER MYO-JA, HA JUN-HO ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr
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