Go to contents

Central Region’s New Political Party

Posted October. 20, 2005 06:16,   


On October 19, a new party spearheaded by Shim Dae-pyeong, the governor of Southern Chungcheong Province, was launched. The new party is tentatively named the National Central Party and claims to be representative of the electorate in Korea’s central region.

Governor Shim officially declared the launch of the party in a press conference held at the new party’s office in Yeouido, Seoul, and presided over the launch ceremony of a preparation committee for the new party.

In a statement stating the objectives of the new party, Shim said, “We at the National Central Party adopt liberal democracy and the advanced market economy system as the basic values of this nation. We intend to go beyond the paradigms of leftists and rightists, and of conservatives and liberals and take the route of putting people first. We intend to realize pragmatist politics that take care of people’s lives.”

Shin Kook-hwan, an independent National Assembly member, was selected to co-chair the preparation committee. Legislators Chung Jin-suk and Ryu Keun-chan, who are also independents, will participate in the committee as key members. A previous plan to merge the new party with the United Liberal Democrats before the new party’s launch was not realized.

Those who are related to the new party will do preparation work for the party on their own for a while. They will have a party originators’ convention on November 24 and after that, will register the party with the National Election Commission. They plan to hold a national convention to celebrate the creation of the party in early January next year.

On the other hand, they are not ruling out the possibility of eventually forming a coalition with supporters of former Prime Minister Goh Kun or the New Millennium Democratic Party.

Governor Shim said, “We are open to forming a coalition with whatever party if the coalition means we can provide politics for the people. However, a coalition or an alliance is meaningful only when we are able to stand on our own feet.”

In particular, the new party is said to see eye to eye with the Democratic Party on many issues. In a meeting held yesterday between Governor Shim and the Democratic Party leader Hahn Hwa-kap, the two sides agreed on the necessity to form a “strategic coalition,” according to those who accompanied them.

It is also drawing attention whether former Prime Minister Goh, who has no party base, will partner with the new party. Goh is still refraining from political activities. However, given that his fan club, “Uminhoe” is forming or strengthening local organizations at the city, county and township levels, Goh also appears to be focusing on establishing his own influence.

Meanwhile, Assemblyman Shin, the co-chair of the preparatory committee for the new party, said, “If it is necessary to field candidates jointly with other parties in the local elections slated for next year, we won’t avoid that option,” adding, “We’ll try to elicit as much support as possible from the public in the local elections next year as a party that is different from existing ones. After checking our standing through the elections, we’ll field a presidential candidate in the 2007 presidential election and face the judgment of the public.”

Yong-Gwan Jung yongari@donga.com