Democratic Party (South Korea, 1955)

The Democratic Party (Korean: 민주당, Minju Dang, DP) was a political party in South Korea.[1] The party was the first truly organized liberal opposition against Syngman Rhee's Liberal Party, and is considered as the predecessor to the lineage of the South Korean liberal parties.

Democratic Party

Succeeded byCivil Rule Party
HeadquartersSeoul, South Korea
IdeologyKorean nationalism
Liberal conservatism
Political positionCentre-right
ColorsYellow Green


The Democratic Party was established on 18 September 1955. It had its background in a 1952 move by the Democratic Nationalist Party to create a pro-reform movement that included both party members and outside figures. Although not initially successful in overcoming the party's poor public image, controversy over a constitutional amendment vote towards the end of 1954 led to the formation of a 60-member bloc in Parliament that became the Democratic Party.[2] Several prominent conservatives joined the party, resulting in the party refusing to admit left-wing politicians.[2]

The party did not nominate a presidential candidate in the 1956 elections, but put forward Chang Myon as its vice-presidential candidate. Chang was elected with 46.4% of the vote. Public attitude turning against the rule of Syngman Rhee and the Liberal Party led to increased tensions, and Chang survived an assassination attempt in 1957.[2]

In the 1958 parliamentary elections the DP received 34% of the vote, winning 79 seats and finishing second to the ruling Liberal Party. The party nominated Chough Pyung-ok as its candidate for the March 1960 presidential elections. However, he died shortly before the elections, leaving Rhee as the sole candidate. Chang was defeated by Liberal candidate Lee Ki-poong in the vice-presidential elections. However, student protests over the results led to Rhee going into exile before the June parliamentary elections, in which the DP won a landslide victory, taking 175 of the 233 seats in the House of Commons and 31 of the 58 seats in the Senate.

Despite gaining power, the party descended into infighting between the new and old factions; a compromise resulted in the new faction's Chang being elected Prime Minister and Yun Posun of the old faction being elected President in an indirect election in August.[2] However, the internal tensions eventually resulted in the old faction breaking away to form a separate party.

However, after less than a year in power, the DP government was overthrown in the May 16 coup and the party ceased activities. However, when democracy was reintroduced in 1963, the party was reconstituted.[2] In the 1963 parliamentary elections it won 13 seats, and the following year merged with the Citizens Party.[2]

Election resultsEdit

Presidential electionsEdit

Election Presidential Candidate Image Vice Presidential Candidate Total votes (Presidential) Total votes (Vice Presidential) Share of votes (Presidential) Share of votes (Vice Presidential) Outcome
1956 Shin Ik-hee   Chang Myon - 4,012,654 - 46.4% Chang Myon Elected  N
March 1960 Cho Pyong-ok   Chang Myon - 1,843,758 - 17.5% Election Result Annulled  N
August 1960 Yun Po-sun   - 208 - 82.2% - Election Won  Y


  1. ^ Elections in Asia and the Pacific : a data handbook. Nohlen, Dieter., Grotz, Florian., Hartmann, Christof. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2001. ISBN 019924958X. OCLC 48585734.CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. ^ a b c d e f Haruhiro Fukui (1985) Political parties of Asia and the Pacific, Greenwood Press, pp667–668