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Parties gear up for April general elections

Jan. 1, 2020 - 16:45 By Park Han-na
Rival political parties on Wednesday ushered in 2020 with renewed commitment to win over voters in the general elections this year.

During events celebrating the new year, the leaders of the ruling Democratic Party and main opposition Liberty Korea Party shared their visions and plans for the April 15 general elections, which will take place under the newly revised electoral law. 

Democratic Party chief Lee Hae-chan speaks during an event celebrating the new year at the party's headquarters in Yeouido, Seoul,Sunday. (Yonhap)

Democratic Party chief Lee Hae-chan underscored that the results of the elections will be a turning point.

“(The party’s) victory in the election will support the Moon Jae-in government to successfully complete reform schemes and will lay the groundwork for the Democratic Party to rule again. It is historical responsibility to regain power in order to help good policy take root in society,” he said. President Moon is entering the fourth year of his five-year term.

Lee also noted the possible impact of unfavorable external factors on the elections.

“The environment surrounding us is tough, such as Japan’s economic provocation and the conflict between China and the US as well as a setback in nuclear talks between the US and North Korea. They will be major variables in the parliamentary elections,” he said.

Meanwhile, the minor progressive Justice Party sought to appeal to young voters, as the new election law lowers the voting age from 19 to 18.

“Above all, the Justice Party will enthusiastically support the dreams and challenges of young people. With the youths, the party will take the lead in changing outdated politics and opening the door for the dynamic future of the country,” said Sim Sang-jung, head of the minor progressive Justice Party.

The conservative Liberty Korea Party is accelerating its move to set up a new affiliated party in order to secure more parliamentary seats in the upcoming elections.

It has started work to form a preparation committee for the launch of the new entity and to raise funds from party officials. 

On Friday, the National Assembly passed an election reform bill, introducing a new proportional representation system and lowering the voting age, despite opposition lawmakers’ fierce protests.

The Liberty Korea Party’s move will exploit the new rules designed to give an advantage and more seats to minor parties.

Under the revised law, the number of directly elected seats and proportional representation slots will be unchanged at 253 and 47, respectively, in the 300-member National Assembly. But the method of distribution of proportional representation seats will be changed, to better reflect the vote share and boost the presence of minor parties.

On Sunday, Liberty Korea Party leader Hwang Kyo-ahn called on all conservatives to unite to challenge the liberal Moon government and the Democratic Party.

In November, he formally proposed the creation of a consultative body for a “grand conservative alliance.”

“We should launch the body quickly, as there is not much time left,” Hwang said, adding that he would forgo all vested rights for the sake of unity.

By Park Han-na (