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Uri Party Reduced to a 152-Seat Minority in Just 3 Years

Uri Party Reduced to a 152-Seat Minority in Just 3 Years

Posted June. 15, 2007 09:26,   


The Uri Party that won 152 of 299 parliament seats in the 2004 general election is on the verge of dissolution. In the wake of a large-scale defection, the Party has decided to hold an ad hoc party convention in mid-July to discuss how to disband the party and form a new coalition. Regarding this development, some criticize, “They do not respect the opinion of the voters who cast ballots for the party, and they are undermining the basis of responsible politics.”

The February party convention of this year gave the Uri leadership the authority to push for the formation of a new coalition by June 14. Even though the deadline has passed, nothing was decided. So the Uri Party decided to give the party leader Jeong Se-gyun one more month to finalize the issue.

On the afternoon of June 14, the Uri Party held a joint conference, where 167 lawmakers were present, in the National Assembly, and they agreed to convene an ad hoc party convention to discuss ways to form a new coalition in the next month.

It is alleged that the party is considering disbanding itself by combining itself with a possible new party civic groups are pushing for.

In the meantime, lawmaker Jeong Dae-cheol, who publicly hinted at his defection and who demanded the party be disbanded, leads a group that includes lawmakers Kim Deok-gyu, Moon Hak-jin, Jeong Bong-ju, Lee Won-yeong, Choi Seong, Kim Woo-nam, Shin Hak-yong, and Han Gwang-won. The group decided to bolt from the party on June 15. They dismissed a new grand coalition that includes pro-Roh figures as something that would eventually result in the same dysfunctional Uri Party.

On a separate note, 6 lawmakers from Gyeonggi Province, including former party chief Moon Hee-sang, Lee Ki-woo, and Lee Seok-hyeon announced their defection from the party on June 15.

Former Uri chairman Chung Dong-young is also said to be leaving the party sometime next week.

However, lawmakers from Chungcheong Province decided in a luncheon on June 14 to just wait and see how the leaders of the party makes efforts to form a new coalition, instead of defecting. Representatives from North Jeolla Province have decided to support the party’s leaders.

Former party leader Kim Geun-tae, who gave up running for the presidency, quit the party recently. On the morning of June 14, he met with former Gyeonggi governor Sohn Hak-gyu and agreed to block those conservatives clinging to old customs from taking power, and to put their hands together for the solidarity of peaceful reformers, according to lawmaker Woo Sang-ho.

In a luncheon, Kim and lawmaker Chun Jung-bae agreed to make efforts for a grand coalition and to hold a joint conference of presidential candidates at the same time.