Democratic Party of Korea

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Democratic Party of Korea
LeaderLee Jae-myung[1]
Floor leaderPark Hong-keun
Secretary-GeneralCho Jeong-sik
Chair of the Policy Planning CommitteeKim Sung-hwan
  • March 26, 2014 (2014-03-26)[a]
  • December 28, 2015 (2015-12-28)[b]
Merger of
Preceded by
Headquarters7, Gukhoe-daero 68-gil, Yeongdeungpo District, Seoul
Think tankThe Institute for Democracy
Youth wingDemocratic Party of Youth
Membership (2019)4,065,408[2]
Political positionCentre to centre-left
  •   Blue[g][3]
  •   Sea blue[h][4]
National Assembly
167 / 300
Metropolitan Mayors and Governors
5 / 17
Municipal Mayors
63 / 226
Provincial and Metropolitan Councillors
332 / 872
Municipal Councillors
1,384 / 2,988
Website Edit this at Wikidata

The Democratic Party of Korea[j] (DPK), formerly known as the New Politics Alliance for Democracy[k] (NPAD), is a centrist-liberal[11] South Korean political party. The DPK and its rival, the People Power Party (PPP), form the two major political parties of South Korea.

The DPK was founded on 26 March 2014 out of a merger of the Democratic Party and the preparatory committee of the New Political Vision Party (NPVP). In 2022, the Democratic Party, the Open Democratic Party,[12] and the New Wave political party[13] merged to form a big tent party.[14][15]


Formation and Ahn–Kim leadership (March – July 2014)[edit]

Headquarters of the Democratic Party
Logo of the NPAD (2014–2015)

On 26 March 2014, the New Politics Alliance for Democracy[16] was founded after an independent group led by Ahn Cheol-soo, in the process of forming the New Political Vision Party, merged with the Democratic Party led by Kim Han-gil. The former Democratic Party was absorbed into the NPAD and the preparatory committee of the NPVP was dissolved. Members who supported the merger joined the NPAD individually. Ahn and Kim became joint leaders of the new party.[17] When the party performed poorly in by-elections that July, both leaders stepped down. The leadership of the party was then assumed by an emergency committee.[18]

Ahn–Moon split (2015 – 16)[edit]

On 7 February 2015, a party convention elected Moon Jae-in as the new chairman of the party.[19] Moon, who had previously served as chief of staff for former president Roh Moo-hyun,[19] was the leader of the party's "pro-Roh" faction, which was opposed to Ahn and Kim. Moon came under fire for imposing a "pro-Roh hegemony" in the party, as Ahn and Kim were jeered and harassed at a memorial service for Roh held in May 2015.[20]

As the factional conflict intensified, the party lost support, falling from around 40 to 30 percent in opinion polls.[21] A survey conducted on 12–14 November 2015, showed that supporters of the party wanted Ahn and Seoul mayor Park Won-soon to assume the leadership alongside Moon.[22] On 29 November, Ahn rejected a proposal from Moon to establish joint leadership[23] and presented Moon with a demand to call a convention to elect a new party leader. Moon rejected his demand,[24] and Ahn left the party.[25]

Ahn was followed by a number of NPAD assembly members, including his former co-leader Kim Han-gil[26][27] and Kwon Rho-kap, a former aide of President Kim Dae-jung from the party's stronghold of Honam.[28] Ahn and Kim merged their groups with that of another defector from the NPAD, Chun Jung-bae, to form the People Party.[29]

Following the defections, the NPAD was renamed the Democratic Party of Korea on 27 December 2015, and Moon resigned as party leader on 27 January 2016.[30] Kim Chong-in, an academic and former assemblyman who served as an economic advisor to President Park Geun-hye, was appointed party leader.[31][32] Kim was seen as an unexpected choice, as he had previously worked for the conservative Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo administrations in the 1980s,[33] serving as an assembly member for the ruling Democratic Justice Party and as health and welfare minister.[34]

Under Kim Chong-in (January – August 2016)[edit]

Kim Chong-in viewed the pro-Roh Moo-hyun faction and what he considered the extremist wing of the party as responsible for the party's troubles and pledged to diminish their influence.[35]

In the lead-up to the 2016 legislative election, he deselected Lee Hae-chan, who had been Prime Minister under Roh and was now chairman of the Roh Moo-hyun Foundation, as a candidate.[36] Lee left the party in response.[35] Many of Kim's nominations for the party's list were rejected by the rest of the party leadership, while favored candidates of Moon were ranked near the top of the approved list. Kim offered to resign in March but stayed on as leader after a visit from Moon.[37] Kim stated that he would continue to attempt to change the party's image, saying that the events had shown the party was "still unable to move on from its old ways".[31]

2016 legislative election[edit]

Though losing votes to the People's Party formed by Ahn, Chun, and Kim Han-gil—particularly in Honam[21]—the party emerged as the overall winner of the election, receiving a plurality of seats (123 seats) in the National Assembly with a margin of one seat over the Saenuri Party. Lee Hae-chan returned to the Assembly as an independent, representing Sejong City. Following its electoral victory, Kim announced that the Democratic Party would shift its focus from welfare to economic growth and structural reform. Kim stated that the party would also change its position to support the establishment of for-profit hospitals, in contrast to the party's earlier opposition to the policy.[38]

Under Choo Mi-ae (August 2016 – August 2018)[edit]

2017 presidential election[edit]

After the constitutional court impeached President Park Geun-hye for bribery, the Democratic Party's Moon Jae-in won the presidential election with 41.1% of the vote, with Hong Joon-pyo of Liberty Korea coming in second with 24%.

Under Lee Hae-chan (August 2018 – August 2020)[edit]

2020 legislative election[edit]

On 15 April 2020, the Democratic Party and its allies won an absolute majority with 180 seats in the 300-member National Assembly. The main opposition United Future Party (UFP) won 103 seats.[39]

Under Lee Nak-yon (August 2020 – March 2021)[edit]

On 9 March 2021, Lee Nak-yon resigned as the leader of the Democratic Party of Korea to run for president in the 2022 South Korean presidential election.[40]

2021 by-elections[edit]

Following the major losses in the 2021 by-elections, the party leadership was reorganized.[41] Do Jong-hwan became the interim party president.[41]

Under Song Young-gil (May 2021 – August 2022)[edit]

2022 presidential election[edit]

In October 2021, the Democratic Party nominated Lee Jae-myung as its nominee in the 2022 presidential election over other contenders such as former Democratic Party leaders Lee Nak-yon and Choo Mi-ae. Lee ultimately lost the election with 47.83% of the vote.[42]

Under Lee Jae-myung (May 2021 – present)[edit]

After a short non-captain system, Lee Jae-myung was elected as the party representative with 77% of the vote. After being elected as the party leader, the party held a rally to condemn the prosecution's investigation into the party leader.

The motion to arrest the party leader was rejected by a narrow margin.[1]

A faction friendly to Lee Jae-myung (친명) and a neutral faction (비명) were at odds over the agenda for the party representative's chaepo (체포, arrest) motion.

The pro-Lee Jae-myung faction argued that the party leader won nearly 80% of the party's vote and that the opinion polls of the party's supporters overwhelmingly support the rejection of the arrest motion. At the same time, he criticized non-Lee Jae-myeong-gye lawmakers who agreed to the arrest motion.

Non-Lee Jae-myung lawmakers insisted that the party and the representative's problems be separated and responded to, and argued that the party's overall approval rating was falling because of the party's representative.[43]

The daughters of reform (개딸), who are called party members with a strong propensity to support Lee Jae-myeong, put pressure on lawmakers who seemed to have opposed the motion for Lee Jae-myeong's arrest. Regarding this, the party representative Lee Jae-myung requested restraint.[44]

The current party constitutional reflect 70% of the views of the central committee and 30% of public opinion polls in the party representative primary, in which delegates participate. In the competition for candidates for the Supreme Council, 100% of the decisions are made by the Central Committee. In the main contest, the final winner is determined by reflecting 30% of the delegates, 40% of the general party members (권리당원) (members of the right party who pay 1,000 won), 25% of the public opinion poll, and 5% of the public opinion poll of general party members (regular party members).

In response, the Democratic Party's Innovation Committee tried to adjust the way to determine the party representative and supreme council candidates by using 100% of the party's general party members to determine 20% of the delegates, 50% of the general party members, and 30% of the public opinion polls in the main competition.

This was opposed by the non-Lee Jae-myung faction as a rule in favor of Lee Jae-myung, who is gaining great support from the general party membership.[45]

Lee Jae-myung excluded some of his aides from the composition of the party and brought a large number of lawmakers who were critical of him into the leadership. This is interpreted as being for "reconciliation."[46]

Park Kwang-on was elected as the floor leader of the Democratic Party with the support of a majority of lawmakers in the first round of voting. Rep. Park Kwang-on is classified as a non-Lee Jae-myun (비명) who takes a neutral or critical stance against Lee Jae-myung.[47]

Rep. Kim Nam-guk withdrew from the party due to the controversy over possession of virtual currency. Rep. Kim is considered a pro-Lee Jae-myung faction, and the incident has dealt a blow to the leadership of the party representative.[48]


The Democratic Party of Korea is primarily described as a centrist party.[49] The Democratic Party is one of the two major political parties in South Korea. In the context of Korean politics, it has been classified as center-left in contrast to mainstream right-wing conservative politics.[50] [51]

The Democratic Party is evaluated as 'somewhat progressive', if not solidly progressive, in Korea. Due to the nature of the electoral system, minor parties rarely wins seats in elections, leading most progressive citizens to vote for the Democratic Party through tactical voting. The DPK admits to progressive voters that "the party is not progressive enough" but insists it will represent progressive values if it chooses the Democratic Party over the conservative PPP candidate.[52] However, the DPK gradually moved in a progressive direction after its establishment and represented progressive voters.[53][54]

For this reason, the Democratic Party is sometimes treated as a composition such as "progressive vs conservative" and "Left-leaning vs Right-leaning" in contrast to right-wing PPP in Korea. Because of this, some media refer to the Democratic Party as progressive or left-wing. In addition, some conservative-leaning politicians criticize the left wing of the Democratic Party and even "left dictatorship" (좌파독재) or "extreme left" (극좌).[55] The Chosun Ilbo/JoongAng Ilbo/Dong-A Ilbo (called Chojoongdong), Korea's 1st, 2nd, and 3rd newspapers, which are all conservative, also attack the Democratic Party as leftist/left-wing . The Chosun Ilbo attacked the Democratic Party in some columns, saying, "How the Left is Ruining Our Country" [56] Currently, major politicians of the right-wing People's Power Party also criticize the Democratic Party's policies as "leftist policies that ruin the country" and "socialist."[57]

However, some researchers argue that the DPK has center-right policies by international standards.[53] It was evaluated that the Democratic Party is considered progressive despite not being progressive because Korea has a more conservative political landscape compared to other industrialized democracies (mainly belonging to OECD).[l] Some researchers have placed the DPK's position on the political spectrum to the right of Christian democracy, saying that the DPK is more [economic and social] conservative than the centre-right German Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) in particular.[61] DPK's LGBT+ policy is more conservative than CDU.[62] Because of this, some left-leaning researchers have placed the party on the right-wing of the political spectrum in terms of Western European politics.[63] Also, many members of the Democratic Party, such as Lee Hae-chan, Moon Jae-in, and Lee Jae-myung, define the party's de facto identity as 'true conservative', 'moderate conservative' or 'centre-right'. [64][65] In his book, Moon Jae-in writes, "it is only a backward political reality unique to South Korea that the political forces of the center-right line in Korea, which are not even left-wing, fall short of the center,'.[66]

Leadership ideology changes[edit]

In the Democratic Party of Korea, the overall ideology of the party changes little by little depending on which leadership is elected.[citation needed] In the early days, the moderate or conservative leadership was the mainstream, but as a result of progressives and conservatives competing for leadership, they gradually moved in a progressive direction.[67]

During the early days of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy, Kim Han-gil and Ahn Cheol-soo performed the duties of co-representatives. They took a tough stance in relations with North Korea and pursued harmony between selective welfare and universal welfare.[further explanation needed] Because they played the role of conservatives in the party, [68] they faced criticism from progressives inside the party for being 'center-right', and some progressives withdrew from the party. They took responsibility for the defeat in local elections and resigned as party leaders. [69] Two of them, Kim Han-gil and Ahn Cheol-soo, later joined the right-wing PPP.[70]

Afterwards, the moderate Christian-democratic Park Young-sun and the moderate Moon Hee-sang continued to serve as representatives.[71] Later, in the 2015 party leadership election, Moon Jae-in won over the conservative Park Jie-won[72] He lost to Park Ji-won in the party membership vote, but won the polls and won.

However, afterward, due to the party's internal investigations and opposition from the party's conservatives, the party leader Moon Jae-in resigned in 2022, and after that, Kim Chong-in's emergency committee was launched.[73] Although he was a member of the conservative faction, he insisted on economic democratization. However, he also later moved to the PPP.[74]

Afterwards, Choo Mi-ae and Lee Hae-chan continued to serve as representatives. All of them are on the progressive side of the party. Lee Hye-chan suggested a move in a progressive direction, claiming that the party is not a progressive party by international standards, and its policies are much more conservative than those of reformist parties in Europe, and that the actual party position is 'centre-right', he said.[75]

After that, moderates such as Lee Nak-yeon and Kim Tae-nyeon continued to hold the party leadership positions. However, after the progressive Lee Jae-myung was elected as the party's representative, the party moved in a progressive direction, to the dismay of the conservative factions.[76][needs update]


The DPK can be seen as a big tent political party. There are politicians with various ideologies in the DPK, but they are usually referred to as figures rather than ideologies.

As of May 2023, the centrist and moderate faction centered on 'allies of Moon Jae-in' or 'allies of Lee Nak-yon' (친문 or 친낙) and the liberal and progressive faction centered on 'allies of Lee Jae-myung' party leader (친명, 이재명계) are at odds.[77] Although its influence has been reduced from years past, there is also a social conservative and economic liberal faction centered on National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo.[78]

Liberal populists[edit]

Lee Jae-myung, party leader. An admirer of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal policies who emerged as a progressive and anti-establishment alternative to the moderate Democrats.[79] In 2017, Lee was likened to 'South Korea's Bernie Sanders'.[80] However, after his faction entered the mainstream, it moved rapidly in a more moderate direction.[81]

Social liberal[82] populists[m][93] like Lee Jae-myung do not have clear stances on cultural conservatism and progressivism, but support centre-left policies including New Deal-like policies.[94] The faction enjoys high support from general party members (권리당원), but not much support among the party's National Assembly and delegates (대의원).[citation needed]

Historically, Lee was described as a progressive figure,[95] but now he is considered to be liberal. This trend intensified during the 2022 presidential election, when Lee emphasized "centrism and civic integration".[96] During the presidential campaign, Lee spent much time meeting and gaining support from centrists and conservatives.[97][98] In presidential campaign videos, the Party's emphasis on and mentions of 'economic growth' have increased more than in 2017.[99] Some columnists of the Hankyoreh reported Lee Jae-myung as saying, "I should have shouted for reform and change, not pragmatism and integration," revealing regret for turning to a more moderate stance.[100]Also through editorials criticized Lee Jae-myung for forgetting his (liberal/progressive) "values" to win the votes of conservative voters.[101]

Lee Jae-myung is more culturally liberal than the mainstream DPK politicians. Lee Jae-myung supports passing anti-discrimination legislation,[102] and discussed this with Cha Hae-young (차해영), a member of the Mapo District Council and the first elected LGBT politician in the DPK and Korean history.[103] Lee was pro-choice and advocated expanding the rights of abortion women in medical insurance,[104] and he opposes the proposed abolition of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, proposed by the conservatives.[105] However, he did not take a clear position on the enactment of the anti-discrimination law, arguing that a 'social consensus' (사회적 합의) was needed, and occasionally took an unfriendly stance towards protesters demanding the enactment of the anti-discrimination law. His position on feminism is also somewhat ambiguous, likely due to the divisiveness of the topic within the electorate.[106][107]

Centrist reformists[edit]

Moon Jae-in, former president. He was a human rights lawyer-turned-politician who opposed the military dictatorships in the past. He challenged the presidential election in 2012, but failed, and succeeded in challenging the 2017 election again [108]
After taking office, he was evaluated for carrying out liberal reform policies and made a particularly great contribution to promoting freedom of the press in South Korea.[109]

Centrist reformism has generally dominated DPK politics.[110][77][111][112] As of April 2023, Lee Nak-yon is considered a representative centrist reformist.[77][113] The former president, Moon Jae-in is a centrist reformist,[77] and took a culturally liberal approach to military reform, school reform, and environmental issues, but a somewhat moderate socially conservative approach to disability rights and LGBT rights.[114]

However, there are pro-Lee Nak-yeon and pro-Jung Sye-kyun sub-branches of Sae-ryeok[clarification needed] who favor Moon Jae-in, but pro-Moon Jae-in allies are close to candidate Lee Jae-myung.[citation needed] In October 2021, Moon Jae-in criticized Nak-yeon Lee indirectly.[115] Moon also said that the "pro-Moon Jae-in" faction and the "pro-Lee Jae-myung" faction are "99% the same".[116] Also, factions that are friendly to Lee Nak-yeon and Jeong Sye-gyun are in a more conservative position than the pro-Moon Jae-in faction.[117]

Park Gwang-on, a pro-Lee Nak-yeon faction, was elected as the floor leader. This means that the rightful party members and members of the National Assembly are friendly to the pro-Lee Nak-yeon faction.


Kim Jin-pyo, National Assembly Speaker. Although he is one of the most conservative members of the Democratic Party, he was elected speaker of the National Assembly with the support of a majority of members. He has been controversial in the past for his advocacy of theocracy and his claims to treat LGBT people.

Conservatives like Kim Jin-pyo[118][119][120][121] are socially conservative in supporting anti-abortion legislation and opposing LGBT+ rights, but support economically liberal policies such as deregulation.[122] Kim Jin-pyo was evaluated as closer to "conservatism" than "centrism" in a Korean media survey.[further explanation needed][123] Kim introduced the 'Homosexuality Healing Movement' as one of several proposed countermeasures against the low birth rate, which was criticized by media such as the Hankyoreh, which said that he wasn't any different from the PPP. [124] Kim won the support of a majority of lawmakers in the election for speaker of the National Assembly.[117]

In addition, there are Christian democrats within the party, like former assembly member Park Young-sun. Park claimed that "I was the strongest opponent of the 300 members of the National Assembly in the past on homosexuality".[125] But as of April 2023, unlike in 2016, she has no opposition to homosexuality, and in 2021, she turned to a more moderate conservative stance, saying she supports a milder form of anti-discrimination law that adds a 'religious exception'.[126][127] Park is still skeptical about queer parades.[128]

Moderate conservatives from conservative parties, such as Kim Young-choon and Kim Boo-kyum, may be included. They joined the DPK after taking a reformist stance within the mainstream conservative party in Korea. Inside the DPK, they take a relatively conservative stance, such as opposing reform bills that include operating room CCTV installations.[129]

Conservatives in the DPK are politically at odds with left-liberal populists represented by Lee Jae-myeong and others.[130] Whenever disputes between the factions arise, conservatives demand that the pro-Lee faction voluntarily leave the party, or insist that the party can split.[131]


There are several political minorities in the Democratic Party. They take a critical stance towards the party's mainstream and elite, though with little ideological coherence.[132] They are also usually the more socially progressive members of the DPK.

Classical liberals include Kum Tae-seop, an economically and culturally liberal politician. Kum Tae-seop attended the Queer Festival and urged the DPK to set up a booth at the festival.[133] However, Kum Tae-seop has left the party,[when?] and classical liberals are sparse in the DPK. Some classical liberals remain in the DPK, but they are critical of the mainstream anti-Japanese sentiment that exists within the party.[134]

Liberals like Park Ji-hyun support the rights of immigrants, and adhere to liberal feminism and cultural liberalism. Although they are left-liberals, they have relatively weak populist tendencies and are culturally liberal-to-progressive, so they frequently conflict with the allies of Lee Jae-myung.[135][136] Regarding the Chaepo motion,[further explanation needed] he[who?] strongly criticized party leader Lee Jae-myung, saying that it[clarification needed] was the cause of the party's decline in approval ratings. Because of this, they[who?] received petitions from party members requesting their expulsion. [137]She has criticized the US Supreme Court's decision to revoke the federal right to abortion and is an open supporter of abortion rights.[138]

Political stances[edit]

Economic and labour policies[edit]

The DPK supports the expansion of fiscal expenditures to gradually increase welfare alongside elements of economic liberalism[139] and fiscal conservatism.[140] The party supports the market economy, but also values the need for state intervention in the market.[141] In 2020, the party pledged to implement a version of the Green New Deal to move South Korea towards carbon neutrality by 2050.[142]

The party takes a favorable stance on government intervention in the market, while keeping some distance from labour politics and labour movements. For this reason, the DPK has been labelled as a "conservative liberal" party.[143]

However, Lee Jae-myung supports New Deal liberalism, which is economically progressive and labor-friendly, unlike Moon Jae-in, who was a pro-Chaebol centrist. Therefore, it is actively supported by former and current executives of major labor unions in South Korea.[144] Lee Jae-myung was compared to "FDR's New Deal Coalition" because he formed a big tent political coalition based on liberalism that brought together socially conservative people (antifeminist "Dixiecrat"), reformist liberals, left-wing socially progressives, and anti-Chaebol labor activists.[145]

The DPK is officially rooted in the 1955 classical-liberal "Democratic Party". But the current DPK got closer to moderate Keynesian than to classical-liberal economic policy of the past.[146]

Social policies[edit]

The DPK's social stances are inconsistent. The DPK is generally classified as a liberal political party, therefore should be socially liberal,[147][148][149][150] but the party is also influenced by Christian movements, so it has some socially conservative character.[n] The party opposed the legalization of same-sex marriage during the 2018 local elections.[153][114][154][155] However, some DPK members oppose discrimination against homosexuals outside of marriage and argues that they should be treated with dignity and supported the anti-discrimination law. There are LGBT members and politicians within the DPK.[156]

Many DPK politicians are friendly to the etiquette and Confucian traditions of Korean culture.[157][158] The Hankyoreh and Hankook Ilbo, South Korean socially liberal newspapers, strongly criticized the DPK for holding a discussion on the pros and cons of the anti-discrimination law and giving anti-LGBT activists the right to speak.[159][160]

The DPK's Christian influences have also been criticized by other religious groups. In December 2021, the Moon Jae-in government invested 1.2 billion won (US$1,000,000) in a campaign to promote carol music in stores such as restaurants and cafes. The Buddhist community protested, calling it a policy that gives preferential treatment to a specific religion.[161]

The DPK's social conservatism on issues related to LGBT rights and feminism mainly draws from Christianity,[114] but outside of those topics the DPK demonstrates moderate-to-liberal social policy. The DPK opposes corporal punishment for children and led the complete abolition of laws that justified corporal punishment for children in the past. The DPK also supports strengthening punishments for domestic violence.[162][163]

The DPK views South Korea's dog meat intake culture negatively and has criticized it from a liberal perspective. President Moon Jae-in said he was considering a legal ban on dog meat in September 2021.[164] The DPK also actively supports the rights of vegetarians and vegan citizens.[165] In addition, the DPK supports liberal reforms on student rights issues.[166]

The DPK's position on abortion is undefined, and varies for each politician. There are some socially conservative politicians who oppose women's right to abortion care, but most of the DPK is pro-choice. Lee Jae-myung, the DPK candidate for the 2022 South Korean presidential election, insisted on expanding health insurance for abortion and contraceptives.[167]

The DPK takes an ambiguous position that neither supports nor opposes the abolition of the National Security Act.[168]

Rights of immigrants and foreigners[edit]

Most of the main politicians of the Democratic Party show pro-immigrant tendencies, and factional differences are not noticeable in this regard.[169][170] The DPK opposes racism and xenophobia. The party supports immigrant rights and the establishment of an "immigration office".[82] The DPK takes an inclusive position for foreigners, such as supporting the 'right of foreigners to vote in local elections' who have lived for a certain period of time or more in compliance with South Korean laws, which conflicts with conservatives who insist on limiting some foreign resident voting rights.[171]

Foreign policy[edit]

The DPK maintains a friendly stance with the United States, considering it as a strategic ally of South Korea.[172]

DPK holds the position that it doesn't need to choose between China and the United States, with the party's then candidate Lee Jae-myung stating that China is a "strategic cooperative partner" of South Korea and saying that "we must not put relations with China on the back burner as it is our largest trade partner and we can't dismiss its role".[172]

Prior to 2022, the DPK supported friendly relations with Russia, with the aim of swaying Russia to cooperate with South Korea on North Korea. The DPK condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and expressed support economic sanctions against Russia.[173][174] However, many DPK politicians also did not attend Zelensky's video speech to the South Korean parliament.[175] The DPK caused controversy in April 2022 by inviting a pro-Russian professor who denied the Bucha Massacre at a party forum, which was done separately from the 'official' support position for Ukraine.[176] When president Yoon Suk Yeol mentioned the possibility of providing weapons to Ukraine from South Korea on April 19, 2023, many DPK politicians criticized Yoon and said South Korea should not be hostile to Russia.[177][178]

According to a 2021 survey, most of DPK's supporters prefer to support the United States over China. 12.3 percent supported friendly relations with China over the United States, but 62.8 percent supported friendly relations with the United States over China.[179][180]


The DPK's view of Japan varies from politician to politician, but the majority of its politicians take a harsh line towards Japan.[181] The DPK's variant of nationalism is strongly related to a sense of grievance against Japan.[182] Moon Jae-in said in September 2017 in front of Trump and Shinzo Abe, "The United States is our ally, but Japan is not our ally".[183] The DPK opposes Japan's remilitarization efforts and revision of its constitution for fear of increasing South Korea's military spending.[184]

The DPK takes the position that civilians killed by South Korean troops during the Vietnam War should be compensated. The DPK links this issue to Japan's historical revisionism, which they say should be "different from the militarist Japanese who distort history".[185]

North Korea[edit]

The party strongly supports the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and aims for peaceful relations with North Korea. The party also officially advocates increasing exchanges and cooperation with the North to create a foundation for reunification.[186]

List of leaders[edit]

Current leadership[edit]

Emergency Response Committee of the Democratic Party of Korea
Office Officer(s)
Co-chair Yun Ho-jung
Park Ji-hyun
Floor leader in the National Assembly Park Hong-keun
Appointed members Kim Tae-jin
Kwon Ji-woong
Chae Yi-bae
Bae Jae-jung
Cho Eung-chun
Lee So-young


  • Note: ERC - as head of Emergency Response Committee
No. Name Photo Term of office Election results
Took office Left office
1 Co-leadership
Kim Han-gil   Ahn Cheol-soo
Kim Han-Gil (cropped).jpg Ahn Cheol-Soo cropped (cropped).jpg 26 March 2014 31 July 2014 No election
Park Young-sun
20211118 - 박영선.jpg 4 August 2014 18 September 2014 Appointed
Moon Hee-sang
Moon Hee-sang in 2019.jpg 18 September 2014 9 February 2015 Appointed
2 Moon Jae-in
Moon Jae-in (2017-10-01) cropped.jpg 9 February 2015 27 January 2016
Moon Jae-in – 45.3%
Park Jie-won – 41.8%
Lee In-young – 12.9%
Kim Chong-in
Kim Jong-in in Aeranwon (cropped).jpg 27 January 2016 27 August 2016 Appointed
3 Choo Mi-ae Choo Mi-ae ministerial portrait.png 27 August 2016 25 August 2018
Choo Mi-ae – 54.03%
Lee Jong-kul – 23.89%
Kim Sang-gon – 22.08%
4 Lee Hae-chan 191028더불어민주당예산정책협의회(3).jpg 25 August 2018 29 August 2020
Lee Hae-chan – 42.88%
Song Young-gil – 30.73%
Kim Jin-pyo – 26.39%
5 Lee Nak-yon South Korean Prime Minister Lee - 2017 (36235112603) (cropped).jpg 29 August 2020 9 March 2021
Lee Nak-yon – 60.77%
Kim Boo-kyum – 21.37%
Park Joo-min – 17.85%
Kim Tae-nyeon
김태년.png 9 March 2021 8 April 2021 Succeeded
Do Jong-hwan
도종환 국회 교육문화체육관광위원회 간사.jpg 8 April 2021 16 April 2021 Appointed
Yun Ho-jung
윤호중.jpg 16 April 2021 2 May 2021 Succeeded
6 Song Young-gil Song Young Gil, DP leader.jpg 2 May 2021 10 March 2022
Song Young-gil – 35.60%
Hong Young-pyo – 35.01%
Woo Won-shik – 29.38%
Yun Ho-jung   Park Ji-hyun
윤호중.jpg 민주당 전국여성위원회, 블루스타트포럼 발족식 2 (cropped).jpg 13 March 2022 7 June 2022 Appointed
Woo Sang-ho
At Namdaemun Market in Jung-gu, Seoul on the morning of 23rd Woo Sang-ho are Taking commemorative photos (3) (cropped).jpg 7 June 2022 28 August 2022 AScceeded
7 Lee Jae-myung Lee Jae-myung presidential candidate portrait.jpg 28 August 2022 incumbent
Lee Jae-myung – 77.77%
Park Yong-jin – 22.23%

Floor leaders[edit]

No. Name Term of office
Took office Left office
1 Jun Byung-hun [ko] 26 March 2014 7 May 2014
2 Park Young-sun 7 May 2014 2 October 2014
Kim Yung-rok
2 October 2014 8 October 2014
3 Woo Yoon-keun [ko] 8 October 2014 6 May 2015
4 Lee Jong-kul 6 May 2015 4 May 2016
5 Woo Sang-ho 4 May 2016 16 May 2017
6 Woo Won-shik 16 May 2017 11 May 2018
7 Hong Young-pyo 11 May 2018 8 May 2019
8 Lee In-young 8 May 2019 7 May 2020
9 Kim Tae-nyeon 7 May 2020 8 April 2021
10 Yun Ho-jung 16 April 2021 24 March 2022
11 Park Hong-keun 24 March 2022 28 April 2023
12 Park Kwang-on 28 April 2023 incumbent


No. Name Term of office
Took office Left office
1 Ahn Gyu-back 27 August 2016 16 May 2017
2 Lee Choon-suak [ko] 16 May 2017 3 September 2018
3 Yun Ho-jung 3 September 2018 31 August 2020
4 Park Kwang-on 31 August 2020 4 May 2021
5 Youn Kwan-suk 4 May 2021 24 November 2021
6 Kim Yeong-jin 25 November 2021 incumbent

Election results[edit]


Election Candidate Votes % Result
2017 Moon Jae-in 13,423,800 41.09 Elected
2022 Lee Jae-myung 16,147,738 47.83 Not elected


Election Leader Constituency Party list Seats Position Status
Votes % Seats +/- Votes % Seats +/- No. +/–
2016 Kim Chong-in 8,881,369 37
110 / 253
new 6,069,744 25.55
13 / 47
123 / 300
new 2nd Opposition
2020 Lee Hae-chan 14,345,425 49.91
163 / 253
Increase 53
163 / 300
Increase 40 1st Government


Election Leader Metropolitan mayor/Governor Provincial legislature Municipal mayor Municipal legislature
2014 Kim Han-gil
Ahn Cheol-soo
9 / 17
349 / 789
78 / 226
1,157 / 2,898
2018 Choo Mi-ae
14 / 17
652 / 824
151 / 226
1,638 / 2,927
2022 Park Ji-hyun
Yoon Ho-jung
5 / 17
322 / 872
63 / 226
1,348 / 2,987


Election National Assembly Metropolitan mayor/governors Municipal mayor Provincial/metropolitan councillors Municipal councillors Leader
July 2014 Kim Han-gil
Ahn Cheol-soo
4 / 15
0 / 1
Oct 2014 Moon Hee-sang
0 / 2
April 2015 Moon Jae-in
0 / 4
0 / 1
2 / 7
Oct 2015
0 / 1
2 / 9
0 / 14
2016 Kim Chong-in
3 / 8
9 / 17
11 / 26
April 2017 Choo Mi-ae
0 / 1
1 / 3
1 / 7
5 / 19
May 2017
1 / 1
2 / 4
11 / 12
2019 Lee Hae-chan
0 / 2
0 / 3
5 / 8
6 / 17
15 / 33
2021 Kim Tae-nyeon
2 / 8
0 / 2
0 / 2
2 / 9
March 2022 Song Young-gil
0 / 5
June 2022 Park Ji-hyun
Yoon Ho-jung
2 / 7


  1. ^ as the New Politics Alliance for Democracy
  2. ^ as the Democratic Party
  3. ^ October 19, 2016 (2016-10-19)
  4. ^ May 13, 2020 (2020-05-13)
  5. ^ January 14, 2022 (2022-01-14)
  6. ^ April 15, 2022 (2022-04-15)
  7. ^ as Democratic Party of Korea
  8. ^ as New Politics Alliance for Democracy
  9. ^ abbreviated 민주당,[5] 민주 or 더민주
  10. ^ Korean더불어민주당; Hanja더불어民主黨; RRDeobureominjudang; lit. Together Democratic Party[i]
  11. ^ 새정치민주연합; 政治民主連合; Saejeongchi Minju Yeonhap
  12. ^ In South Korea, hard-right authoritarianism and military dictatorship were in power for a long time after liberation for almost 50 years. During this time, leftist/progressive ideologies were considered illegal.[58] Because of this, some researchers criticize that the DPK is considered center-left/moderate-progressive in South Korea because it has a conservative political form,[59] even though it is substantially similar to the center-right/moderate conservative camp in Western Europe.[60]
  13. ^ It influenced by Lee Jae-myung who is known as a "liberal"[83][84] or "left-liberal" politician.[82] Lee are mainly described as "populist". Japanese media have compared Lee to "Korea's Trump" (韓国版トランプ) or "anti-Japan" (反日).[85][86][87] Whether Lee can be viewed as a "left-wing" or "left-wing populist" is debatable.[88] Lee himself argues that he is not "left-wing" (좌파 or 좌익), but rather more "conservative" (보수).[89][90] Lee described himself as a "pro-business" (친기업) who supports the promotion of workers' rights but does not support policies that are too hostile to businesses,[91] and Lee is also staunch supporter of free trade (자유무역).[92]
  14. ^ Historically, South Korea's Christianity traditionally belonged to the liberal camp because it supported of anti-Confucian conservatism, scientific rationalism, Korean independence movement, and Korean democracy movement.[151][152] As 'cultural liberal' issues such as LGBT, Muslim immigration, abortion, and feminism emerged in the 21st century when 'political liberal' was fully established in South Korea after democratization, Christian groups in South Korea were more likely to have friendly relations with right-wing conservative camp, including more conservative/skeptical PPP, than liberal camp like progressive/active Justice Party and the more moderate/compassionate Democratic Party of Korea.


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  2. ^ National Election Commission. "2019년도 정당의 활동개황 및 회계보고" (in Korean).
  3. ^ Democratic Party of Korea. "더불어민주당 로고(Logo of the Democratic Party of Korea)" (in Korean).
  4. ^ Park, Cheoljoong (16 March 2014). 바다파랑 '새정치민주연합', 썩지 않는 바다처럼 (in Korean). News1. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  5. ^ "Main Opposition To Be Called 'The Minjoo Party Of Korea'". Traffic Broadcasting System. 30 December 2015. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  6. ^ Steven Borowiec (24 February 2016). "South Korean lawmakers try first filibuster since 1969 to block anti-terrorism bill". Los Angeles Times. In recent years, the main liberal party, now the Minjoo Party, has changed its name, and had many high-profile members defect amid infighting and electoral defeats.
  7. ^ Jesús Velasco (4 July 2019). American Presidential Elections in a Comparative Perspective: The World Is Watching. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 154. ISBN 978-1498557580.
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  11. ^ [6][7][8][9][10]
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  47. ^ "[속보] 민주당 새 원내대표에 비명계 박광온···결선 없이 과반 득표". 28 April 2023.
  48. ^ ""탈당 김남국, 곧 돌아와? 민주당은 회전문 아니다" 박용진 비판". 15 May 2023.
  49. ^ The Democratic Party of Korea is described as a centrist party by numerous sources:
  50. ^
  51. ^
  52. ^ "우상호 "尹, 진보진영 유권자가 택할 후보 아냐‥도와달라"". 2 March 2022.
  53. ^ a b "'진보정치의 시간'을 위해 필요한 4가지" [4 things needed for ‘the time of progressive politics’]. 한겨례. 17 June 2022. Retrieved 9 February 2023. ... 전통적인 '비판적 지지론'의 성격도 있지만, 그것이 전부는 아니다. 실제 민주당이 다소 진보화된 과정이 있었고, 이제 민주당이 '어느 정도' 진보적 정당이라고 생각하는 시민들이 있다... ... [.. There is also the character of the traditional 'critical support theory', but that is not all. In fact, there was a process in which the Democratic Party was somewhat progressive, and now there are citizens who think that the Democratic Party is a progressive party 'to some extent'.]
  54. ^ [주간필담] 더불어민주당은 진보인가? (in Korean). Retrieved 24 December 2022
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  56. ^ ""좌파가 우리나라를 말아먹는 방법"" [How the Left is Ruining Our Country]. The Chosun Ilbo. 9 April 2023. Retrieved 28 April 2023.
  57. ^ "[인터뷰] 홍준표 "이재명 기본소득 사회주의 배급제…부자에 돈 쓸 자유줘야"". 28 June 2021.
  58. ^ 현연, 조. 2019. 한국 진보 정당 운동사. 후마니타스. pp. 198-199, 221-222
  59. ^ "The Justice Party and the South Korean Left: A Movement With Potential but Divided and Struggling". Europe Elects. 14 November 2019. However, the repression and persecution of leftists led to a stark division in Korean politics and a conservative political leadership. .(syncopation).. Korea still remains a conservative society to this day which does not help for the already struggling progressive activists.
  60. ^ "[세상읽기] 민주당의 정체는 무엇인가 / 김누리". 16 February 2020.
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  62. ^ "경찰도, 집권당도 부스 차리고 응원...서울과 사뭇 다른 베를린 성소수자 축제" [The police and the ruling party also set up booths and cheer... Berlin's sexual minority festival, which is quite different from Seoul]. Hankook Ilbo. 19 July 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2023. . 보수색이 짙은 기독교민주연합(기민련)의 부스도 보였다. 서울광장에서 집권여당인 국민의힘과 제1야당인 더불어민주당 차원의 움직임은 없었다. 지지세가 크지 않은 진보당·녹색당이 부스를 차렸을 뿐이었다... [.There was also a booth of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (Kiminryon). In Seoul Plaza, there was no movement at the level of the People's Power, the ruling party, and the Democratic Party of Korea, the first opposition party. Only the Progressive Party and the Green Party, which did not have much support, set up booths..'.]
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  64. ^ "이해찬 "민주당 진보적인 당 아니다…중도 우파 정도"" [Lee Hae-chan "Democratic Party is not a progressive party... about the center-right"]. JoongAng Ilbo. 17 October 2018. Retrieved 28 February 2023. . 이 대표는 "유럽의 개혁적인 정당에 비하면 (민주당) 정강·정책이 훨씬 더 보수적"이라며 "보수적일 수밖에 없는 환경 속에서 활동을 해왔기 때문에 그렇다고 보고 이제는 조금 더 개혁적으로 가야 한다고 생각한다"고 설명했다.. [.Representative Lee said, “Compared to reformist parties in Europe, (Democratic Party) is much more conservative in its platform and policies.”“Because I have been active in an environment that has no choice but to be conservative, Seeing that, I think we need to go a little more reformative now.”.]
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  66. ^ "'가짜 보수'가 문재인 대통령을 '진보'라고 하는 이유" [Why ‘fake conservatives’ call President Moon Jae-in ‘progressive’]. The Hankyoreh. 28 October 2018. Retrieved 28 April 2023. .문재인 대통령은 2013년 펴낸 <1219 끝이 시작이다>라는 책에서 김대중 노무현 정부를 줄곧 '민주정부 10년'으로 표현하고 있습니다. "좌파는커녕 중도에도 미치지 못하는 한국의 중도우파 노선 정치세력이 극우 세력으로부터 '종북좌파'로 몰리는 건, 한국만의 후진적 정치 현실일 뿐"이라는 내용도 들어 있습니다.. [President Moon Jae-in, in his 2013 book titled <1219 The End Is the Beginning>, has consistently referred to the Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations as “10 years of democratic government.” It also contains the content that "it is only a backward political reality unique to South Korea that the political forces of the center-right line in Korea, which are not even left-wing, fall short of the center, from the far-right forces to the 'pro-North Korea leftist'." .]
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  84. ^ "Teen candidates in local S.Korea races reveal youth vote's power". Reuters. 1 June 2022. Retrieved 8 April 2023. Yoon won 58% of men in their 20s, while liberal Lee Jae-myung gained the same percentage of women, according to exit polls. Yoon prevailed in the election by a margin of just 0.7%.
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    • "'규제완화론자' 김진표, 여당 부동산특위 위원장 맡는다" [Kim Jin-pyo, a ‘deregulationist’, serves as the chairman of the ruling party’s real estate special committee]. Kyunghyang Shinmun. 6 May 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2023. .(김진표는) 참여정부 초대 부총리 시절 법인세 인하를 일성으로 내걸었고, 강력한 부동산 투기 억제책 요구가 일자 "사회주의적 방법"이라고 일축한 적도 있다.... [..(Kim Jin-pyo..), when he was the first deputy prime minister of the participatory government, advocated a reduction in corporate tax with one voice, and once dismissed it as a “socialist method” when there was a strong demand for measures to curb real estate speculation...]
    • "법인세 인하·성장이 공정…與 주자들 '경제대통령' 앞세워 우회전" [Corporate tax cuts and growth are fair... Old runners turn right with the ‘Economic President’ in front]. ko:뉴스1. 30 June 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2023. ..이 지사는 이같은 방식의 성장 정책과 공정 정책을 두 축으로 '공정성장 경제'를 내세울 것으로 알려졌다. 이 지사 측 관계자는 "성장이 공정이고, 공정이 곧 성장"이라며... [..It is known that Governor Lee will promote a 'fair growth economy' with the two axes of growth policy and fair policy in this way. An official from the branch said, "Growth is fair, and fairness is growth."..]
    • "이재명 "취득세도 낮추겠다"…윤석열과 부동산 감세 경쟁" [Lee Jae-myung “I will lower the acquisition tax”… Yoon Seok-yeol and Real Estate Tax Cut Competition]. The Hankyoreh. 29 December 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2023. ..이재명 더불어민주당 대선 후보가 29일 양도소득세와 종합부동산세에 이어 취득세 부담 완화 방침을 밝혔다. 앞서 윤석열 국민의힘 후보의 취득세 감면 공약에 뒤이은 것으로 거대정당의 여야 대선 후보가 표심을 의식해 '원칙 없는 부동산 감세 경쟁'을 벌이고 있다는 지적이 나온다.... [.On the 29th, Democratic Party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung announced a plan to ease the burden of acquisition tax following capital gains tax and comprehensive real estate tax. It is pointed out that the presidential candidates of the ruling and opposition parties of the giant party are engaged in a’principle real estate tax reduction competition’, following the pledge of the people’s power candidate Seok-yeol Yoon’s acquisition tax reduction earlier.]
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External links[edit]

Media related to Democratic Party of Korea at Wikimedia Commons