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Ruling party to vote on joining proportional representation coalition

Democratic Party Chairman Rep. Lee Hae-chan speaks at a party meeting on Wednesday. Yonhap
Democratic Party Chairman Rep. Lee Hae-chan speaks at a party meeting on Wednesday. Yonhap

The ruling Democratic Party will hold an online vote for all its members to decide whether to participate in a coalition proportional representative party.

The coalition proportional representative party is a proposed political party that will field only proportional representatives in the April 15 general elections. If Democratic Party members approve the resolution, the new party would include the ruling party, the Justice Party and left-leaning parties that do not at present have representation in the National Assembly.

The Democratic Party currently has about 800,000 members with voting rights, and the online vote will be open for 24 hours starting at 6 a.m. Thursday.

“A vote to ask party members who have votes in the primaries for the general elections will be held for 24 hours,” Rep. Je Youn-kyung said Wednesday after the party’s supreme council meeting.

She added that she expects the results of the vote sometime Friday.

At the meeting, Rep. Lee Hae-chan, the party chairman, said the purpose of the coalition was to fight back against the United Future Party’s expediencies, referring to the main opposition’s decision to establish a separate party specifically to seek proportional representation votes.

Lee also said if the party joins the coalition, it will not seek to win more proportional representative seats than it would win otherwise but would give priority to candidates from minor parties.

While the Democratic Party is putting the matter to a vote, some party lawmakers remain opposed to joining the coalition.

The Democratic Party has heavily criticized the main opposition for establishing a proportional representation party, accusing the United Future Party of abusing the newly amended election laws.

However, with polls showing that the conservative bloc could gain a majority in the upcoming elections, the ruling party changed its stance, with some saying a coalition is essential to prevent President Moon Jae-in from being ousted.

By Choi He-suk (