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지나쌤

DP moves to unite left in single party

By Korea Herald

Published : Nov. 3, 2011 - 16:31

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Democratic Party chairman Rep. Sohn Hak-kyu (third from left) and the party’s Supreme Council members announce on Thursday a plan to work toward the consolidation of the liberal camp. (Yang Dong-chul/The Korea Herald) Democratic Party chairman Rep. Sohn Hak-kyu (third from left) and the party’s Supreme Council members announce on Thursday a plan to work toward the consolidation of the liberal camp. (Yang Dong-chul/The Korea Herald)
Rep. Sohn Hak-kyu, chairman of the main opposition Democratic Party, invited liberal opposition parties and groups on Thursday to form a united party by the end of this year.

“Integration is no longer an option but a mission for all those in the liberal camp,” said Sohn in a press conference.

“On Oct. 26, we won in the Seoul mayoral by-election but faced defeat in most other constituencies where we failed to cooperate and work as one”

He thus suggested a joint meeting of the leaders of the left-wing power groups.

“After reaching a general agreement through the joint discussion, we plan to kick off a party merger committee within the month,” he said.

“The DP, as the leading opposition, shall set an example and open up its doors for the cause.”

Sohn’s move came amid the awareness that the DP may no longer dominate the left. New liberal forces such as civic groups have risen as influential powers upon the election of activist Park Won-soon as Seoul’s mayor.

Responses from non-DP members varied.

“We welcome the DP’s willingness to achieve integration,” said Kim Ki-shik, one of the representatives of Innovation and Integration, a panel seeking the liberal camp’s consolidation.

Moon Jae-in, chairman of the Roh Moo-hyun Foundation, also said Wednesday that the DP should join a unified liberal party with other groups, instead of absorbing them.

“The political groups within the liberal bloc should work as equal colleagues, in order to win over the public’s support and take over the presidential power next year.”

The minority New Progressive Party, however, disapproved the DP’s offer.

“An inter-party merger at this point in time is unfeasible as there is no policy consensus among parties,” said the party spokesperson through a statement.

Along with its integration project, the DP is also expected to hold a national convention in December to select its new chairman.

Sohn must end his chairmanship by year-end to challenge the presidential election, scheduled for next November, according to the party’s constitution.

By Bae Hyun-jung (tellme@heraldcorp.com)