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DP leader resigns as step to seeking 2nd term

June 24, 2024 - 15:15 By Jung Min-kyung
Democratic Party of Korea Rep. Lee Jae-myung announces his resignation as the party's chair at the National Assembly in Yeouido, western Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)

Democratic Party of Korea Rep. Lee Jae-myung on Monday stepped down from his position as the party’s chair, a move that is viewed as a step towards running for a second term as the main opposition party's leader at the upcoming party convention.

"I have resigned from my position as the chair of the Democratic Party with the wrap-up of today’s party supreme council meeting," Lee told reporters at the National Assembly in Yeouido, western Seoul.

Lee expressed his concerns about what he called "the huge crisis facing the people and the country" in Korean society and regarding the security of the Korean Peninsula, while pledging to confirm whether he plans to run for a second term as the party chair in the near future.

“The economy and people's livelihoods are in a difficult situation. Meanwhile, warning shots are being fired in the Demilitarized Zone. The (security) situation on the Korean Peninsula is such that it wouldn’t be a surprise if a war were to break out at this very moment,” he said.

“(On the matter of running again for party chair), I will make a decision soon. However, for the time being, I plan to (take a step back), watch and think deeply about what path the Democratic Party and I should take in the face of this huge crisis, while preparing for the party convention,” he added.

Lee then hinted strongly at running for reelection, saying, "If I had confirmed I would not be running, I would not have resigned today."

The Democratic Party is currently gearing up to hold a national convention scheduled for Aug. 18. Though Lee’s current two-year term as party chair officially runs through August, the Democratic Party’s current charter stipulates that the current leader must resign before the candidate registration period kicks off. The registration period is projected to start early next month for this year.

Democratic Party floor leader Park Chan-dae will serve as the acting party chair until the party convention, following Lee’s resignation.

Lee was first elected as the Democratic Party chair in 2022, after receiving overwhelming support from the party's members.

If Lee succeeds in becoming reelected chair of the Democratic Party, he will become the first leader of the largest liberal party here to do so since former President Kim Dae-jung. Kim was the leader of the National Congress for New Politics, a predecessor of the Democratic Party, from September 1995 to January 2000.