Long time coming, PPP and PP agree to merge
The main opposition People Power Party (PPP) and minor People’s Party (PP) finally agreed to merge.
PPP chairman Lee Jun-seok and Ahn Cheol-soo, leader of the PP, announced the merger at a press conference at the National Assembly on Monday, more than five weeks after Yoon Suk-yeol was elected president.
The parties each held a supreme committee meeting on Monday morning and passed a merger plan of the two parties.
The PPP said its supreme committee “approved the merger with the People’s Party,” and added a plan to convene its national committee, which is a mandatory process to merge the parties, was passed as well.
The People’s Party unanimously agreed to the plan.
The combined party will jointly nominate candidates for the upcoming June 1 local election.
The merger was part of a deal made between the president-elect Yoon and Ahn during the presidential campaign.
Ahn had suggested a merger ahead of the Seoul mayoral by-election in March 2021, but the plan was cancelled after five months as there were clashes on details such as the party’s name.
The merger was at risk after Yoon's team ignored Ahn's advice on cabinet picks.
According to the statement Monday, the merged party is expected to keep the People Power Party name and Lee Jun-seok will maintain his position as chairman.
The two parties also agreed to create a taskforce to suggest reforms and new policies.
The merger is expected to attract more moderate voters and raise support for conservative candidates in the upcoming local election.
“We will try our best to become a party that works for the people” said Ahn Monday.
After the merger, the two People’s Party lawmakers in the National Assembly will belong to the PPP, raising the PPP’s number of seats from 110 to 112.
Ahn Cheol-soo’s position in the merged party is being watched as Ahn had previously hinted at a run in the next presidential race.
BY SOHN GUK-HEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]