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Minor parties press major parties to join parliamentary electoral reform

Politics 11:43 November 28, 2018

SEOUL, Nov. 28 (Yonhap) -- Minor parties on Wednesday called on bigger rivals to immediately join a push for adopting a new proportional representation system as they seek to reform the parliamentary electoral scheme.

The ruling Democratic Party (DP) and the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) remain lukewarm toward minor parties' call to introduce the German-style mixed-member proportional (MMP) representation system.

Under MMP representation, the number of parliamentary seats that each party receives is tied to the percentage of voters' support for parties.

Minor parties are hoping to increase their presence in the National Assembly, traditionally dominated by the two major parties, with a new election system that would help boost their representation.

The chiefs, floor leaders and officials from the minor conservative Bareunmirae Party (BP), the liberal Party for Democracy and Peace (PDP) and the leftist Justice Party made a joint call for the two parties to adopt the electoral reform.

"The parties should lay down their vested rights and immediately accept a proposal to adopt the MMP representation system," the parties said in a joint statement.

This photo, taken on Nov. 28, 2018, shows the chiefs, floor leaders, lawmakers and officials from three minor parties calling on the ruling and main opposition parties to immediately adopt a proposed new proportional representation system. (Yonhap)

South Korea has a single-member district system, which critics say generates many dead votes and falls short of representing voters' various voices.

In 2004, the country also introduced proportional representation, allowing a voter to cast two ballots for parliamentary elections.

One ballot is cast to pick a single representative for each district and the other to pick a party for proportional representation, which currently makes up for 15.7 percent of the total parliamentary seats.

Sohn Hak-kyu, the chairman of the BP, stressed that the major parties should heed calls by the people aspiring for the genuine political reform.

"President Moon Jae-in and DP chairman Lee Hae-chan are aware that the adoption of the MMP representation system is unavoidable. They also said so. But now they are all shunning it," Sohn said.

In his election campaign, President Moon promised to reform the parliamentary election system in a way that will enhance representation. He also in August raised the need to revise the country's election law when he agreed with rival parties' floor leaders to form a joint policy consultation body in what the president calls joint governance.


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