DP and UFP both take steps to merge with their satellite offshootsThe two largest parties are taking steps to merge with their satellite offshoots to bring in proportional lawmakers elected through the April 15 general elections.
The ruling Democratic Party (DP) and its satellite Citizen Party (CP) finalized their merger deal on Wednesday. Lawmakers-elect of the CP will join the DP, according to their arrangement, bringing up the number of the ruling party’s seats to 177 in the 300-member National Assembly.
Senior DP members also began mentioning the idea that the party should also merge with the Open Minjoo Party (OMP). The party, created by former DP members and which nominated controversial candidates who mostly failed to win the ruling party’s nominations, won three proportional seats last month.
Lawmaker-elect Choe Kang-wook, former presidential aide of the Moon Jae-in Blue House, was recently elected as its chairman. Choe, who served as presidential secretary for civil service discipline from September 2018 till March this year, is currently standing trial on charges of being part of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk’s son’s admissions frauds.
Woo said it is hard for DP Chairman Lee Hae-chan to reverse his public promise during the election campaign that the ruling party will not merge with the OMP over its controversies. “The merger, therefore, should be pushed forward after we elect a new leadership in August,” he said.
Woo’s remarks followed President Moon’s recent telephone call with Choe. Moon called Choe on Wednesday and congratulated him. “From the standpoint of a minority party, it is important to cooperate with other parties,” Moon was quoted as saying in the OMP press release.
The main opposition United Future Party (UFP) and its satellite Future Korea Party (FKP) also agreed to a merger on Thursday. Rep. Joo Ho-young, floor leader and acting head of the UFP, and FKP Chairman Won Yoo-chul struck the deal.
In an interview with MBC Radio, Won said it is desirable to complete the merger as soon as possible. “Preferably, it should be done before May 29,” he said, referring to the final date of his tenure as the FKP chairman.
The UFP said it will soon hold a meeting of the national delegates to approve the plan. The FKP said it will hold a national convention on Tuesday to approve the plan and finalize the merger at the Supreme Council meeting.
Speculation still remains that the FKP, which has 19 lawmakers, will remain independent. If it recruits an independent lawmaker or forms an alliance with the People’s Party, which has three lawmakers, it can become a negotiation bloc of its own as 20 lawmakers are required to hold such status in the National Assembly.
BY SER MYO-JA [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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