Democratic Party of Korea

The Democratic Party of Korea[18] (Korean더불어민주당; Hanja더불어民主黨; RRDeobureominjudang; lit. Together Democratic Party; short form 민주, 더민주 Minju, Deominju, known as "Minjudang" 민주당 in South Korean media since 2016),[19] formerly the New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD),[20] is a centrist,[14] liberal[2] political party in South Korea.

Democratic Party of Korea
President of South KoreaMoon Jae-in
LeaderSong Young-gil
Floor leaderYun Ho-jung
Secretary-GeneralYoun Kwan-suk
Chair of the
Policy Planning Committee
Park Wan-joo
Founded26 March 2014 (as New Politics Alliance for Democracy)
28 December 2015 (as Democratic Party)
Merger ofMinjoo Party
Platform Party
Preceded byDemocratic Party
New Politics Alliance
Headquarters7, Gukhoe-daero 68-gil, Yeongdeungpo District, Seoul
Think tankThe Institute for Democracy
Youth wingDemocratic Party of Youth
Membership (2019)4,065,408[1]
Social liberalism[7][8][9][10]
Internal factions:
Social conservatism[11][12][13]
Political positionCentre[14] to centre-left[15]
Colours  Blue (Democratic)[16]
  Blue (NPAD)[N 1][17]
Seats in the National Assembly
169 / 300
Metropolitan Mayors and Governors
12 / 17
Municipal Mayors
155 / 226
Seats within local government
1,598 / 2,927

Democratic Party of Korea
더불어民主黨[N 2]
Revised RomanizationDeobureominjudang
New Politics Alliance for Democracy
Revised RomanizationSaejeongchi Minju Yeonhap
McCune–ReischauerSaechŏngch'i Minju Yŏnhap
Headquarters of the Democratic Party

The party was founded on 26 March 2014 as a merger of the Democratic Party and the preparatory committee of the New Political Vision Party (NPVP). The former Democratic Party was legally absorbed into the NPAD after the latter's creation, while the preparatory committee of the NPVP was dissolved, with members who supported the merger joining the NPAD individually. The Democratic Party is one of two major political parties in South Korea along with its rival, the conservative People Power Party.


Formation and Ahn–Kim leadership (March–July 2014)Edit

Logo of the NPAD (2014–2015)

The Democratic Party was formed as the New Politics Alliance for Democracy (새정치민주연합; Saejeongchi Minju Yeonhap) on 26 March 2014 after the independent faction led by Ahn Cheol-soo, then in the process of forming a party called the New Political Vision Party, merged with the main opposition Democratic Party, led by Kim Han-gil. Ahn and Kim became joint leaders of the new party.[21] The party performed poorly in by-elections that July, however, and both leaders stepped down, having served for three months. Leadership of the party was assumed by an emergency committee.[22]

Ahn–Moon controversy and split (2015–16)Edit

The next year, at a party convention on 7 February, Moon Jae-in was elected the new chairman of the party.[23] Moon, who had previously served as chief of staff for former president Roh Moo-hyun,[23] was the leader of the party's "pro-Roh" faction, which was opposed to Ahn and Kim. Moon came under fire for imposing a "pro-Roh hegemony" in the party, as Ahn and Kim were jeered and harassed at a memorial service for Roh held in May 2015.[24]

The party hemorrhaged support as the factional conflict intensified, falling from around 40 to 30 percent in opinion polls.[25] A survey conducted on 12–14 November showed that supporters of the party wanted Ahn and Seoul mayor Park Won-soon to assume the leadership alongside Moon.[26] On 29 November, Ahn rejected a proposal from Moon to establish a joint leadership,[27] and the next month he presented Moon with an ultimatum, demanding that he would call a convention to elect a new party leader. Moon rejected the demand,[28] and Ahn left the party.[29]

Ahn was followed by a number of supportive NPAD assembly members, including his former co-leader Kim Han-gil,[30] and the group began preparations to form a new party.[31] On 12 January, Kwon Rho-kap, a former aide of President Kim Dae-jung and a popular figure in the party's traditional stronghold of Honam, also exited the party, similarly citing Moon's "pro-Roh hegemony".[32] Meanwhile, Ahn and Kim merged their group with that of another defector from the NPAD, Chun Jung-bae, to form the People's Party.[33]

Following the defections, the NPAD was renamed the Democratic Party of Korea on 27 December 2015, and Moon resigned on 27 January 2016.[34] Moon handed power to Kim Chong-in, an academic and former assemblyman who had more recently served as economic advisor to conservative President Park Geun-hye.[35][36] Kim was seen as an unexpected choice, as he had previously worked for the right-wing Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo administrations in the 1980s,[37] serving as an assembly member for the ruling Democratic Justice Party and as health and welfare minister under Roh.[38]

Under Kim Chong-in (January–August 2016)Edit

Kim Chong-in viewed the pro–Roh Moo-hyun faction and what he considered the extremist wing of the party as responsible for the party's troubles, and pledged to diminish their influence.[39] In the lead-up to the 2016 parliamentary election he moved against key members of the pro-Roh faction in the nominations process, deselecting Lee Hae-chan, who had been Prime Minister under Roh and was now chairman of the Roh Moo-hyun Foundation.[40] Lee left the party in response.[39] Kim's moves proved controversial, and many of his nominations for the party's proportional representation list were rejected by the rest of the party leadership, while favored candidates of Moon were ranked near the top of the approved list. Kim offered to resign in March, but decided to stay on as leader after a personal visit from Moon.[41] Kim affirmed that he would continue to attempt to change the party's image, stating that the events had shown the party was "still unable to move on from its old ways".[35]

2016 legislative election victoryEdit

Though losing votes to the People's Party formed by Ahn, Chun and Kim Han-gil—particularly in Honam[25]—the party emerged as the overall winner of the election, garnering a plurality of seats (123 seats) in the National Assembly with a margin of one seat over the Saenuri Party. Lee Hae-chan returned to the Assembly as an independent representing Sejong City. Following its election victory, Kim Chong-in announced that the Minjoo Party would change its emphasis from welfare to economic growth and structural reform. Kim stated that the party would also change its position to support the establishment of for-profit hospitals, in contrast to the party's earlier opposition to the policy.[42]

Under Choo Mi-ae (August 2016–August 2018)Edit

2017 presidential election victoryEdit

After the constitutional court impeached President Park Geun-hye over bribery, the Democratic Party's Moon Jae-in won the presidential election with a 41.1% plurality of the votes, with Hong Joon-pyo of Liberty Korea coming second with 24%.

2018 local elections victoryEdit

Under Lee Hae-chan (August 2018–August 2020)Edit

2020 legislative election victoryEdit

On April 15, 2020, Democratic party won far more votes than any other parties, and 176 candidates were elected. It took took 180 seats in the 300-member National Assembly with its allies. The main opposition United Future Party (UFP) won 103 seats.[43]

Under Lee Nak-yon: (August 2020 – March 2021)Edit

On 9 March 2021, Lee Nak-yon resigned as the leader of the Democratic Party of Korea to run for 2022 South Korean presidential election.[44]

2021 by-electionsEdit

Following the suffer in the by-elections, the party leadership was collapsed.[45] Do Jong-hwan became the interim party President.[45]


Economic policiesEdit

The Party supports the market economy, but it also values the need for state intervention in the market.[46] The Party pledged in 2020 to implement a version of the Green New Deal to move South Korea to carbon neutrality by 2050.[47]

Social policiesEdit

The Democratic Party supports strengthening medical welfare and expanding support for education for the underprivileged.[48]

The Party sometimes takes a conservative stance on societal and cultural issues. The Party was opposed to legislation on homosexuality and same-sex marriage during the 2018 local elections.[49] Many DPK politicians are friendly to the etiquette and traditions of Korean culture.[50][51]

Reunification of North and South KoreaEdit

The Party strongly supports the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and aims for peaceful relations with North Korea. The party also officially advocates increasing exchanges and cooperation with the North to create a foundation for reunification.[48] Some conservative media outlets[which?] criticize the Democratic Party lawmakers for being overly conciliatory toward North Korea.[52]

List of leadersEdit

Current leadershipEdit

Supreme Committee of the Democratic Party of Korea[53]
Office Officer(s)
Leader of the Democratic Party Song Young-gil
Floor leader in the National Assembly Yun Ho-jung
Elected members Kim Yong-min, Kang Byung-won, Back Hye-ryun, Kim Young-bae, Jun Hye-sook


  • Note: ERC - as head of Emergency Response Committee
No. Name Photo Term of office Election results
Took office Left office
1 Co-leadership
Kim Han-gil   Ahn Cheol-soo
   26 March 2014 31 July 2014 no election
Park Young-sun
4 August 2014 18 September 2014 appointed
Moon Hee-sang
  18 September 2014 9 February 2015 appointed
2 Moon Jae-in
  9 February 2015 27 January 2016
Moon Jae-in – 45.3%
Park Jie-won – 41.8%
Lee In-young – 12.9%
Kim Chong-in
  27 January 2016 27 August 2016 appointed
3 Choo Mi-ae   27 August 2016 25 August 2018
Choo Mi-ae – 54.03%
Lee Jong-kul – 23.89%
Kim Sang-gon – 22.08%
4 Lee Hae-chan   25 August 2018 29 August 2020
Lee Hae-chan – 42.88%
Song Young-gil – 30.73%
Kim Jin-pyo – 26.39%
5 Lee Nak-yon   29 August 2020 9 March 2021
Lee Nak-yon – 60.77%
Kim Boo-kyum – 21.37%
Park Joo-min – 17.85%
Kim Tae-nyeon
  9 March 2021 8 April 2021 succeeded
Do Jong-hwan
  8 April 2021 16 April 2021 appointed
Yun Ho-jung
16 April 2021 2 May 2021 succeeded
6 Song Young-gil 2 May 2021 incumbent elected

Floor leadersEdit

No. Name Term of office
Took office Left office
1 Jun Byung-hun [ko] 26 March 2014 7 May 2014
2 Park Young-sun 7 May 2014 2 October 2014
Kim Yung-rok
2 October 2014 8 October 2014
3 Woo Yoon-keun [ko] 8 October 2014 6 May 2015
4 Lee Jong-kul 6 May 2015 4 May 2016
5 Woo Sang-ho 4 May 2016 16 May 2017
6 Woo Won-shik 16 May 2017 11 May 2018
7 Hong Young-pyo 11 May 2018 8 May 2019
8 Lee In-young 8 May 2019 7 May 2020
9 Kim Tae-nyeon 7 May 2020 8 April 2021
10 Yun Ho-jung 16 April 2021 incumbent


No. Name Term of office
Took office Left office
1 Ahn Gyu-back 27 August 2016 16 May 2017
2 Lee Choon-suak [ko] 16 May 2017 3 September 2018
3 Yun Ho-jung 3 September 2018 31 August 2020
4 Park Kwang-on 31 August 2020 4 May 2021
5 Youn Kwan-suk 4 May 2021 incumbent

Election resultsEdit

Presidential electionsEdit

Election Candidate Total votes Share of votes Outcome
2017 Moon Jae-in 13,423,800 41.1% elected  Y

General electionsEdit

Election Total seats won Total votes Share of votes Outcome of election Status Election leader
123 / 300
6,069,744 25.5%   4 seats; Plurality Opposition Kim Chong-in
180 / 300
9,307,112 33.4%   57 seats; Majority Governing Lee Hae-chan

Local electionsEdit

Election Metropolitan mayor/Governor Provincial legislature Municipal mayor Municipal legislature Election leader
9 / 17
349 / 789
78 / 226
1,157 / 2,898
Kim Han-gil
Ahn Cheol-soo
14 / 17
652 / 824
151 / 226
1,638 / 2,927
Choo Mi-ae


Election Metropolitan mayor/Governor Municipal mayor Provincial legislecture Municipal legislature Election leader
0 / 2
0 / 2
2 / 8
2 / 9
Kim Tae-nyeon

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Officially described as "sea blue" (바다파랑) by the party.
  2. ^ 共同民主黨, 共に民主党 or other variants are translated names in Chinese and Japanese.


  1. ^ National Election Commission. "2019년도 정당의 활동개황 및 회계보고" (in Korean).
  2. ^ a b The Democratic Party of Korea is described as a liberal party by numerous sources:
  3. ^ Jesús Velasco (4 July 2019). American Presidential Elections in a Comparative Perspective: The World Is Watching. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 154. ISBN 978-1498557580.
  4. ^ "South Korean President Moon Says Open to North Korea Visit". Voice of America. 10 April 2017. Retrieved 13 February 2021.
  5. ^ "South Korea Is a Liberal Country Now". Foreign Policy. 16 April 2020. Retrieved 13 February 2021.
  6. ^ "South Korea: Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon found dead in apparent suicide". Deutsche Welle. 10 July 2020. Retrieved 13 February 2021. Park Won-soon was a member of President Moon Jae-in's liberal Democratic Party and had been touted for a run at becoming South Korea's president in the country's next national elections in 2022.
  7. ^ JUNHYOUNG LEE; JORGE TAMAMES (25 March 2020). "Lecciones de Corea del Sur". (in Spanish). El Partido de la Libertad de Corea (conservador) ha criticado al actual gobierno (del socio-liberal Partido Demócrata) por promover iniciativas en este ámbito.
  8. ^ "South Korea ahead of legislative elections" (PDF). European Parliamentary Research Service. 7 April 2016. The social-liberal Minjoo Party of Korea (MPK, Together Democratic Party) is the main opposition force.
  9. ^ "An Identity Crisis for South Korea's Opposition". The Diplomat. 31 December 2015. South Korea's main opposition social-liberal party is reeling (again) from intraparty factional struggle. Rebranded earlier this week "the Minjoo Party of Korea" (formerly New Politics Alliance for Democracy), the party is searching for a new identity and direction after high profile and popular assemblyperson Ahn Cheol-soo defected on December 13.
  10. ^ "The loser in South Korea's last presidential race has another go". The Economist. 30 March 2017. The country now faces a snap presidential election on May 9th. After almost a decade of conservative rule, the ballot looks likely to be a victory for the more socially liberal Minjoo party: its support is the highest it has ever been, at 50%. Mr Moon, who led the party until January last year, has topped the polls for president for almost three months. The latest sounding puts his support at 35% in a crowded field.
  11. ^ "How religion spurs homophobia in South Korean politics". Nikkei Asia. 26 March 2021.
  12. ^ "South Korea After Park". Jacobin magazine. 18 May 2017. Retrieved 13 February 2021. ... At the same time, however, he belongs to the Catholic Church and holds some socially conservative views. When asked during a debate about the military’s persecution of gay soldiers, Moon responded that he opposed homosexuality in general.
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b The Democratic Party of Korea is described as a centrist party by numerous sources:
  15. ^
  16. ^ Democratic Party of Korea. "더불어민주당 로고(Logo of the Democratic Party of Korea)" (in Korean).
  17. ^ Park, Cheoljoong (16 March 2014). 바다파랑 '새정치민주연합', 썩지 않는 바다처럼 (in Korean). News1. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  18. ^ Park, Seung-ju (19 October 2016). 더민주, 오늘 원외 민주당 통합...'민주당' 이름 되찾는다 (in Korean). News1. Retrieved 19 October 2016.".
  19. ^ "Main Opposition To Be Called 'The Minjoo Party Of Korea'". Traffic Broadcasting System. 30 December 2015. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  20. ^ Choi, He-suk (20 March 2014). 새정치민주연합 영문 당명 확정 (in Korean). The Korea Herald. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  21. ^ "Democratic Party, Ahn Cheol-soo agree to create new party". The Dong-A Ilbo. 3 March 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  22. ^ "Co-chairmen quit amid election rubble". Korea JoongAng Daily. 1 August 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  23. ^ a b "Main opposition party picks ex-Roh aide as new leader".
  24. ^ "Roh son's speech creates stir". The Korea Times. 24 May 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  25. ^ a b "In liberal stronghold, voters give main opposition party a lashing". The Hankyoreh. 14 April 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  26. ^ "NPAD supporters wish for troika". Korea JoongAng Daily. 18 November 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  27. ^ "Ahn rejects Moon's call for joint NPAD leadership". The Korea Herald. 29 November 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  28. ^ "NPAD's Moon rejects Ahn demand". Korea JoongAng Daily. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  29. ^ "Ahn Cheol-soo calls it quits with NPAD". The Korea Times. 13 December 2015. Archived from the original on 25 April 2016. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  30. ^ "Kim departs party he co-founded". Korea JoongAng Daily. 4 January 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  31. ^ "Ahn vows to move forward as 3rd political force". The Korea Herald. 4 January 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  32. ^ "Former Kim DJ aide exits Minjoo Party". The Korea Herald. 12 January 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  33. ^ "Ahn Cheol-Soo, Chun Jung-Bae To Create New Party". TBS eFM. 25 January 2016. Archived from the original on 25 April 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  34. ^ "Moon Jae-in steps down as leader of The Minjoo Party of Korea". The Hankyoreh. 28 January 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  35. ^ a b "Minjoo's identity must be changed: Kim Chong-in". Korea JoongAng Daily. 24 March 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  36. ^ "South Koreans go to the polls in parliamentary election". Business Insider. 13 April 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  37. ^ "Can a Right Wing Defector Save Korea's Liberal Opposition?". The Diplomat. 22 March 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  38. ^ "South Korean president replaces minister, 6 Cabinet members". United Press International. 19 July 1989. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  39. ^ a b "Former P.M. quits Minjoo Party in nomination feud". The Korea Herald. 15 March 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  40. ^ "Kim Jong-in Gets Rid of Pro-Roh Dominance and Replaces the Mainstream: Signs of Factional Conflict". The Kyunghyang Shinmun. 15 April 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  41. ^ "Opposition chief quells dissenters". The Korea Herald. 23 March 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  42. ^ "Opposition party shifting to growth". The Korea Times. 21 April 2016. Archived from the original on 22 April 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  43. ^ "South Korea's governing party wins election by a landslide".
  44. ^ "DP Chair Steps Down to Prepare for Presidential Election". KBS World. 9 March 2021. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  45. ^ a b "충격의 與, 지도부 전원 사퇴…비대위 체제 돌입". 8 April 2021. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  46. ^ "與 '큰 정부' 앞세워 시장개입...'공정경제'로 맞불". SIGNAL. 31 July 2018. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  47. ^ Farand, Chloé (16 April 2020). "South Korea to implement Green New Deal after ruling party election win". Climate Change News. Climate Home News Ltd. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  48. ^ a b 강령·당헌·당규·윤리규범 (in Korean). Democratic Party of Korea. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  49. ^ "지방선거 앞둔 주요 정당들 "동성애·동성혼 반대"". 뉴스앤조이. 31 May 2018. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  50. ^ "경기도의회,배수문 의원, 학교 현장에 필요한 교육복지사 태부족 지적". 경인투데이뉴스. 10 November 2020. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  51. ^ "문경희 경기도의회 부의장, '나를 낮추고 상대를 높이는 다례교육' 참여". 서울신문. 21 October 2020. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  52. ^ ""북한은 잘못 없다" 민주당 의원들의 이상한 합창". 조선일보. 15 June 2020. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  53. ^ "더불어민주당 최고위원" [Supreme committee members]. (in Korean). Retrieved 29 May 2021.

External linksEdit