The Yeollin Uri Party (Korean열린우리당; Hanja열린우리黨; RRYeollinuridang; MRYŏllinuridang; lit. Our Open Party), generally abbreviated to Uri Party (Korean우리당; Hanja우리黨; RRUridang; lit. Our Party), was the ruling social-liberal political party in South Korea from 2003–2007. It had a liberal political ideology in order to support then President Roh Moo-hyun. Chung Sye Kyun was the last leader of the party and twice served as its chairman. In 2007 the party merged the United New Democratic Party to form the Democratic Party. The current-day descendant of the party is the Democratic Party of Korea, but progressives in the party have become members of the Justice Party.

Uri Party
PresidentRoh Moo-hyun
Founded1 November 2003
Dissolved20 August 2007
Split fromDemocratic Party
Grand National Party
People's Party for Reform
Merged intoGrand Unified Democratic New Party
Headquarters133 Yeongdeungpo-dong 6-ga, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Political positionCentre-left[7][8]
Uri Party
Revised RomanizationYeollin Uri-dang
McCune–ReischauerYŏllin Uri-dang

Brief historyEdit

Logo of Uri Party (until 2006)

The party was formed when the conservative-dominated National Assembly voted to impeach then President Roh Moo-hyun, loyalists and pro-Roh faction in the Millennium Democratic Party chose to break ranks from other party members who showed lukewarm support for the administration. Some 42 out of 103 lawmakers of the Millennium Democratic Party joined the new party, and 5 lawmakers from the conservative Grand National Party also joined, seeking to complete political reforms.

The Uri Party won a sweeping victory in the 2004 Parliamentary election, winning 152 of 299 seats. It was the first time that a liberal party had won a majority in 41 years.

Party platform and policy directionEdit

Policywise, the Uri Party emphasized increased spending on social services for the low-income population while de-emphasizing economic growth. It was conciliatory towards North Korea while moving away from the traditional military alliance with the U.S. and Japan. Even after North Korea had continued testing explosive devices, Uri Party members have for continued aid to North Korea, leading to heavy criticism from conservative parties and accusations of harboring Communist sympathizers. The Uri Party placed most of the blame for the crisis[specify] on the hard-line policies of the United States toward North Korea.

In addition, the party was the most culturally liberal party among the historical liberal parties in South Korea. The Uri Party insisted on expanding women's rights and abolishing the National Security Act.[9] The party tried very hard to clear up the legacy of far-right military dictatorship and Japanese colonization, which is considered a tragedy in South Korean history. The bill, led by the party and Roh Moo-hyun, is Special law to redeem pro-Japanese collaborators' property. Uri Party was also liberal in the issue of disabled rights. In 2006, the 'Disability Discrimination Act' (장애인차별금지법) was enacted under the leadership of the Uri Party. The law was opposed by conservative conglomerates.[10][11]

The Hankyoreh editorial evaluated that the Uri Party was close to American liberalism.[12]

Significant eventsEdit

The party came to international attention when their members physically blocked the speaker's chair in the National Assembly in a failed attempt to prevent the impeachment vote on President Roh on March 12, 2004. (The vote was subsequently overruled by South Korea's Constitutional Court on May 14, 2004.) The impeachment was influenced to the Assembly elections, which the party won a majority.

On August 19, 2004, the party suffered an embarrassing setback when party chairman Shin Ki-nam resigned following revelations by a national investigation that his father had worked for the Japanese military police during the Japanese occupation. The investigation, initiated on the 56th anniversary of Liberation Day (August 15, 2004) by President Roh, was a part of a national campaign to shed light on the activity of collaborators during the Japanese occupation. The campaign was vocally supported by Shin and backed by the Uri Party.

The party's popularity has decreased considerably after the 2004 election because of internal strife and scandals related to the President, who had admitted to feeling "incompetent" and unfit for the job.[13] The Uri party failed to secure a single seat out of six electoral districts in the by-election held on April 30, 2005, losing its majority status in the National Assembly. Despite they lost the majority status, they relied support from the centrist Democratic Party and left-wing Democratic Labor Party, which the liberals maintained majority in the National Assembly.

Prior to the Uri Party's devastating defeat in regional elections held on May 31, 2006, Chung apologized for the party's "self-righteous attitude and inadequacy". The party failed to win in all but one area, while the opposition Grand National Party took 12 of the 16 key regional posts in the election. The Uri Party even lost in Daejeon, a city long considered a secure ruling-party stronghold.[14]

Merger with the Grand Unified Democratic New PartyEdit

On August 18, 2007, the delegates of the Uri Party decided to merge into the newly created liberal party Grand Unified Democratic New Party.[15]

Election resultsEdit


Election Leader Constituency Party list Seats Position Status
Votes % Seats Votes % Seats
2004 Chung Dong-young 8,957,665 41.99
129 / 243
8,145,824 38.27
23 / 56
152 / 299
1st Government


Election Leader Metropolitan mayor/Governor Provincial legislature Municipal mayor Municipal legislature
1 / 16
52 / 733
19 / 230
630 / 2,888

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "S Korea's Uri Party wins election".
  2. ^ "Change or continuation: Presidential race heats up". The Korea Herald. 22 September 2021. Retrieved 28 September 2021. The governor has stayed consistent with his political beliefs and core values, which has helped him build a concrete support base since he first joined politics in 2005 as a member of the defunct liberal Uri Party.
  3. ^ Hae-Won Jun. "Electoral Systems, Political Career Paths and Legislative Behavior: Evidence from South Korea's Mixed-Member System1" (PDF). Cambridge University Press. p. 158.
  4. ^ 바보 노무현이 말하는 민주주의 - YouTube
  5. ^ "열린우리당 '친노세력' 다시 뭉치나". The Hankyoreh. 31 October 2005. Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  6. ^ ""열린우리당, 경제는 우파·정치는 진보·사회는 좌파"" [Uri Party is economically right-wing, political progressive, and socially left-wing.]. OhmyNews (in Korean). 17 September 2004. Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  7. ^ Jean-Mark Peterson, ed. (2009). Brief History: Brief History of Korea. Infobase Publishing. p. 242. ISBN 9781438127385.
  8. ^ "Centrist politics in favor among younger Koreans". Korea JoongAng Daily. 19 December 2005. Retrieved 9 July 2020. Translated into political support, the center-left Uri Party last year was supported by 35 percent of those in their 20s, while the conservative Grand National Party was favored by only about 17 percent of those young adults.
  9. ^ "152석 열린우리당 때 실패한 '국보법 폐지' 재부상… 與 일단 "논의안해"" [The issue of "abolishing the National Security Act", which failed during the 152-seat Uri Party, has resurfaced… The ruling party DPK said, "We will not discuss it."]. The Chosun Ilbo. 17 April 2020. Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "노무현의 진보는 '리버럴'에 가까웠다" [Roh Moo Hyun's progressivism was close to "liberal".]. The Hankyoreh (in Korean). 28 July 2020. Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  13. ^ "South Korea's Roh rejects cabinet resignation".
  14. ^ "S Korea party boss quits for poll". June 2006.
  15. ^ Uri Disbands to Merge With Liberal Party, The Korea Times, Retrieved on August 19, 2007

External linksEdit