Lee Jae-myung, the standard bearer of the ruling Democratic Party, said at a ceremony to launch the party’s innovation committee on Thursday, “Through the bizarre circumventive measure of “satellite party,” the representative democracy system that was agreed upon and adopted through painstaking negotiations and efforts have regressed, without functioning properly even for a moment.” He criticized the founding of satellite parties by the ruling and opposition parties during last year’s general elections, and thereby singled out the issue as an agenda for political reform.
His mention, “agreed by the ruling and opposition parties,” is not factually correct, however. The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (predecessor of the People Power Party) was completely bashed in the course of discussing the new election law. The 4+1 coalition between the Democratic Party, which spearheaded the law, and smaller opposition parties railroaded the bill to pass. The centerpiece of the amended election law was the introduction of interlinked proportional representation system, which guarantees the validity of votes that are cast for minority party candidates who lose elections to add proportional representation seats in the National Assembly. Critics said leaving the powerful presidential system intact and only introducing the interlinked proportional representation system, the German Cabinet system, was no different from “gerrymandering,” an election system designed to give favor to a certain political party.
Through the 1+4 coalition, the Democratic Party and minor opposition parties were suspected of forming an under-the-table deal in which they swapped the election bill with the bill on Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials. The Democratic Party gave the gift of the new election system for interlinked proportional representation seats to the minor parties that sought to increase proportional representation seats in order to have the corruption investigation office bill passed. In a move of protest, the Liberty Korea Party created Proportional Korea Party as its satellite party. The Democratic Party, which originally opposed the founding of a satellite party, also chose to establish a satellite party. For this reason, the Justice Party blasted the Democratic Party for “being stabbed at back.” Without following a justifiable cause, both the ruling and opposition parties ended up being swayed and scrambling to garner votes to secure easy extra seats.
Election laws had never been railroaded ruthlessly to be passed this way, since it was effectively a common law for the ruling and main opposition parties to hold negotiations to pass a new election law. If a party railroads the rules of the game that are biased in a party’s favor, controversy will most likely erupt over whether one of the parties will accept the results of election.
There is no need to mention all over again the deceitful political plot on satellite parties that should not have been created. However, as the 4+1 coalition led by the Democratic Party railroaded a half-baked election law, it gave rise to the reason for the founding of satellite parties. Before reflecting upon the deceitful plot and act by satellite parties taken ahead of last year’s general elections, the ruling party’s presidential candidate Lee should first apologize for the unprecedented railroading of an election law spearheaded by the party.