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Unified Progressive Party

The Unified Progressive Party (UPP; Korean: 통합진보당, RR: Tonghap Jinbo-dang, Hanja: 統合進步黨) is a banned political party in South Korea. It was founded on 5 December 2011 as a merger of the Democratic Labor Party, the People's Participation Party of Rhyu Si-min, and a faction of the New Progressive Party.[2][5] Until 12 May 2012 it was jointly chaired by Rhyu Si-min, Lee Jung-hee, and Sim Sang-jung.[4][6]

Unified Progressive Party

LeaderLee Jung-hee[1]
Founded5 December 2011 (2011-12-05)
Banned19 December 2014 (2014-12-19)
Merger ofPeople's Participation Party, Democratic Labor Party, elements of the New Progressive Party
HeadquartersNoryangjin-ro 12, Solbom Building 12th floor, Dongjak-gu, Seoul
IdeologyProgressive democracy[2]
Left-wing nationalism
Political positionLeft-wing[3][4]
Colours     Purple
Unified Progressive Party
Revised RomanizationTonghap Jinbodang
McCune–ReischauerT'onghap Chinbodang


The UPP has proposed an alliance with the major liberal Democratic Party, which the Democrats have rejected.[4]

In the 2012 National Assembly election the party gained eight seats for a total of thirteen seats out of 300, advancing to the third position, well ahead of the conservative Liberty Forward Party (which lost most of its seats).

On 24 April 2012, the party provisionally voted to drop the "Unified" component of its name, and adopt the name "Progressive Party". The change is subject to a vote of the party's Central Committee on 13 May.[7] On 3 May 2012, the party internal investigation revealed that wide-ranging irregularities occurred in selecting UPP's proportional representation candidates.[8][9] UPP won six proportional representatives in the 11 April general election,[10] but one legislator resigned amid the election scandal. All four co-leaders of the party subsequently resigned on 12 May.[11]

The South Korean government petitioned the Constitutional Court of Korea to dissolve the UPP due to their alleged pro-North Korea views in November 2013, two months after the UPP members allegedly involved in the 2013 South Korean sabotage plot were arrested. On 19 December 2014 the Constitutional Court of Korea ruled 8-1 in favour of the dissolution. The five UPP lawmakers were also deprived of their National Assembly seats.[12][13] According to Amnesty International, the UPP's ban raised "serious questions as to the authorities' commitment to freedom of expression and association".[14][15][16]

After the dissolution, some of the members joined People's United Party in 2016.

Lee Seok-ki sabotage plotEdit

On 5 September 2013, South Korea’s intelligence agency, NIS, accused UPP lawmaker Lee Seok-ki of plotting a pro-North Korean rebellion. The case triggered a political and media firestorm in a nation where even praising the North can be considered a crime.[17] He allegedly led a May 2013 meeting, comprised partly of UPP members, in which reference was made to the prospect of attacking South Korean infrastructure in the event that recently heightened tensions between the Koreas led to war.

South Korean prosecutors subsequently indicted Lee on charges of plotting a pro-North Korea rebellion to overthrow the government, saying his plan posed a “grave” national security threat.[18] However, many people, including UPP lawmakers, say that while the meeting in question did take place, they had no intention of destroying South Korean government infrastructure.

On 17 February 2014, Lee was sentenced by a district court to 12 years in prison.[19][20]


  1. ^ UPP intro page(korean)
  2. ^ a b "Minor parties launch 'Unified Progressive Party'". The Korea Times. 5 December 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2012
  3. ^ "Liberal parties agree to field unified candidates for April elections". Yonhap News Agency. 10 March 2012 Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ a b c Bae Hyun-jung (20 January 2012). "Minority parties struggle". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 1 February 2012
  5. ^ "S. Korea's minor parties coalesce to form new progressive party". People's Daily Online. 5 December 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2012
  6. ^ "Progressive parties unified". Yonhap News Agency. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2012 Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Progressives drop ‘united’ from party name, The Korea Herald. 24 April 2012, retrieved 24 April 2012.
  8. ^ "UPP should clearly settle vote irregularity scandal". Yonhap News. 2 May 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  9. ^ Huh Yun-seok(허윤석) (3 May 2012). '지도부 사퇴' 밝힌 진보당, 비례대표 거취 '충돌' [UPP party leader resigned. Internal conflict is widening.]. SBS (in Korean). Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  10. ^ Kim Hee-jin (3 May 2012). "UPP admits its primary was rigged". JoongAng daily. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  11. ^ "Leftist party leaders resign over election scandal". The Korea Times. 12 May 2012. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  12. ^ S Korea Court Orders Dissolution of Leftist Party
  13. ^ Official court opinion (in Korean)
  14. ^ "South Korea court orders party with 'pro-North Korea' views be disbanded". DW. 19 December 2014.
  15. ^ "South Korea court orders breakup of 'pro-North' leftwing party". The Guardian. 19 December 2014.
  16. ^ Steven Borowiec (19 December 2014). "In unprecedented move, South Korea bans 'pro-North' political party". Los Angeles Times.
  17. ^ South Korea Lawmaker Arrested in Alleged Rebellion Plot
  18. ^ South Korean prosecutors charge leftist lawmaker with plotting pro-North Korea rebellion
  19. ^ Leftist lawmaker gets 12-year prison for rebellion plot
  20. ^ (LEAD) Leftist lawmaker gets 12-year prison term for rebellion plot

External linksEdit