Democratic Labor Party (South Korea)

The Democratic Labor Party (DLP, often KDLP) was a left-wing nationalist political party in South Korea. It was founded in January 2000, in the effort to create a political wing for the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions and was considered more left-wing and more independent of the two union federations in South Korea. Its party president was Lee Jung-hee and its assembly leader Kang Gi-gap, who is twice-elected congressman. In December 2011, the party merged into the Unified Progressive Party.

Democratic Labor Party

Minju Nodongdang
LeaderLee Jung-hee
Assembly leaderGang Gi-Gap
Founded30 January 2000 (2000-01-30)
Dissolved5 December 2011
Succeeded byUnified Progressive Party
HeadquartersJongdo Building, 25-1 Mullaedong2-ga, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
IdeologyLeft-wing nationalism[1]
Democratic socialism
Political positionLeft-wing[4][5]
Democratic Labor Party
Revised RomanizationMinju Nodongdang
McCune–ReischauerMinju Nodong-tang


The party gained 10 seats in the National Assembly for the first time in the 2004 parliamentary election, made it became the first major left-wing party to enter the Assembly.

Before and during the 2007 presidential election, conflicts arose between the two main factions within the party. The "equality" or the "left" faction, represented by the People's Democracy group, stressed issues ranging from social welfare, civil liberties, and labor rights, and took an antagonistic position against ruling liberal Roh Moo-hyun government.

Against them, the "autonomy" faction, represented by the National Liberation group,[6] emphasized anti-imperialist struggle and viewed Korean reunification to be a paramount goal. In contrast to the "left" faction, "autonomy" faction advocated "democratic coalition government" (민주연립정부) with the ruling Uri Party, and took a reconciliatory position towards Roh government.

After the 2007 presidential election, the People's Democracy faction quit the party and formed the New Progressive Party (NPP).[6] Despite the split, DLP gained 5 seats in the National Assembly in the 2008 election, but NPP gained none.[7] In the 2009 by-election, NPP got one seat. On 5 December 2011, the party merged with the People's Participation Party and a faction of the NPP to found the Unified Progressive Party.

Election resultsEdit

Presidential electionsEdit

Election Candidate Total votes Share of votes Outcome
2002 Kwon Young-ghil 957,148 3.9% Lost  N
2007 Kwon Young-ghil 712,121 3% Lost  N

Legislative electionsEdit

Election Total seats won Total votes Share of votes Outcome of election Election leader
0 / 273
223,261 1.2% 0 seat; Opposition Kwon Young-ghil
10 / 299
2,774,061 13% 10 seat; Opposition Kwon Young-ghil
5 / 299
973,445 5.7% 5 seat; Opposition Chon Young-sae

Local electionsEdit

Election Metropolitan mayor/Governor Provincial legislature Municipal mayor Municipal legislature Election leader
0 / 16
11 / 682
2 / 232
Kwon Young-ghil
0 / 16
15 / 733
0 / 230
66 / 2,888
Moon Sung-hyeon
0 / 16
24 / 761
3 / 228
115 / 2,888
Kang Gi-gap

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Park, Mi (2008), Democracy and Social Change: A History of South Korean Student Movements, 1980-2000, Peter Lang, p. 231
  2. ^ Kim, Sunhyuk (2007), "Civil society and democratization in Korea", Korean Society, Taylor & Francis, p. 65
  3. ^ Chang, Yun-Shik (2008), "Left and right in South Korean politics", Korea Confronts Globalization, Taylor & Francis, p. 176
  4. ^ Bae, Joonbum (2009), "The South Korean Left's 'Northern Question'", Korea Yearbook 2009, Brill, p. 90
  5. ^ Lim, Hyun-Chin (2008), "Impacts of globalization and restructuring", Korea Confronts Globalization, Taylor & Francis, p. 161
  6. ^ a b Jeong Jae Sung (1 February 2008), "The Debate to End the DLP's Pro-North Korea Stance: the Roots of a 20-Year Conflict", Daily NK, retrieved 25 March 2012
  7. ^ Jackson, Andy (27 January 2010), Happy 10th birthday Democratic Labor Party!, Asian Correspondent, retrieved 25 March 2012

External linksEdit