The new party, formed by the merger of the main opposition Democratic Party and independent Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo’s new politics alliance, will hold 130 of the 300 seats in the National Assembly.
The establishment of the NPAD as the main opposition party is to be completed once the DP is officially absorbed Thursday.
Ahn will serve as the new party’s co-chairman with the DP’s Rep. Kim Han-gil for one year.
|The New Politics Alliance for Democracy holds an inauguration ceremony in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)|
The two will select equal numbers of supreme council members, who will also hold office for one year.
The DP is to complete the merger processes required to form the new party Thursday, when the leaders of the NPAD will hold their first meeting.
“Today’s launch of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy is the beginning of a new system for the future. It is the end of worn-out politics,” Ahn said at the launch ceremony in Seoul.
“The NPAD is the vessel of hope that will contain the people’s hearts and break the old political system.”
Saying that the new party’s top priority is people’s livelihoods, Ahn went on to say that the NPAD will bring about social integration and become a “trustworthy party” that ensures strong national security.
Kim highlighted the change the NPAD represents for the opposition bloc, saying that the new party’s launch was a symbol of the “promise of self-innovation.”
“The party launch is the declaration of a long journey toward regime-change in 2017 starting with victory in the June local elections,” Kim said.
Saying that the “politics of lies” was typical of old politics, Kim also attacked the ruling Saenuri Party and the Park Geun-hye administration for the changes made to the president’s election pledges.
As for the June 4 local elections, Ahn and Kim said that the NPAD would maintain the position that no nominations would be made, and that factionalism within the party was not a major issue. In the run up to the party’s launch, DP’s pro-Roh Moo-hyun faction came under fire from outspoken members including Rep. Cho Kyoung-tae.
“Excluding specific people was never considered,” Ahn said in response to questions regarding discord with the pro-Roh faction.
“What faces us is a big enemy on the outside. The people will judge the forces that do not keep a promise with the people for a small gain,” Ahn said referring to the ruling Saenuri Party’s decision to nominate candidates for the local elections.
As the new party begins its operations, the ruling continued its attacks.
“As two different forces came together, (they were) eager only for the merger without sufficient discussion about their values or (the new party’s) identity,” Saenuri Party spokesman Rep. Ham Jin-gyu said.
Homing in on the DP’s long-standing internal feud, Ham warned the new party that new politics requires action.
“New politics is possible when working with people’s livelihood as the top priority, and sometimes setting aside the party’s interests.”
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org)