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There should be no more satellite party tactics

Posted April. 18, 2024 07:47,   

Updated April. 18, 2024 07:47


The People Power Party held a joint general meeting with the Future of People Party, attended by elected candidates from the April 10 general elections, and passed a resolution on merging the parties. Similarly, the Democratic Party of Korea plans to disband the Democratic Party of Korea Coalition, with affiliated elected candidates returning to the mother party. The remaining election subsidy—totaling 2.8 billion won—received by the two satellite parties, established just before the general elections, will revert to the PPP and DP, respectively.

These maneuvers, including the establishment of satellite parties, subsidy reception, and subsequent mergers, are seen as manipulative tactics exploiting the Election Act and Political Funds Act. The Central Election Committee distributed a total of 50.8 billion won in election subsidies to 11 political parties just before the April 10 general elections. Even newly formed satellite parties received substantial subsidies based on their National Assembly seats, effectively 'lending' their lawmakers to qualify. By creating and then absorbing these satellite entities, the parties essentially diverted funds that were meant for other political entities. Critics argue that while the People Power Party condemned the Renovation New Party for alleged fraud when it received a 600 million won election subsidy, the PPP and DP are no different, having employed similar tactics with their satellite parties.

The ineffectiveness of satellite parties post-election is apparent, as they are designed to disappear once their purpose is served. Public sentiment has turned against these practices, viewing them as attempts by both major parties to retain seats at any cost. The resulting backlash was evident in the record-high spoiled vote of 4.4 percent (1,309,931 votes), sarcastically dubbing "No Party" as the fourth largest political entity. This disillusionment reflects voters' frustration with satellite parties and proportional entities formed to skirt regulations.

The rise of satellite parties has undermined the intended benefits of Korea's quasi-linked proportional representation system, such as promoting political diversity and mitigating winner-take-all dynamics. The Constitutional Court has warned that this trend exacerbates the two-party system, deepening the dichotomy in Korea's competitive political landscape. If unchecked, ruling and opposition parties will likely resort to similar tactics in future elections. Election reform is imperative as the 22nd National Assembly commences. The creation of satellite political parties should end with the election cycle to prevent regression in Korean political development. The general elections must mark the turning point against such manipulative practices.