Uri Party

Yeolin Uri Party
Founded 11 November 2003
Dissolved 20 August 2007
Split from Millennium Democratic Party
Merged into United New Democratic Party
Headquarters 133 Yeongdeungpo-dong 6-ga, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Ideology Social liberalism
Political position Centre-left
International affiliation None
Colours Yellow, green(informally)
Uri Party
Hangul 열린우리당
Hanja 열린우리黨
Revised Romanization Yeollin Uri-dang
McCune–Reischauer Yŏllin Uri-dang

The Yeollin Uri Party (ko: 열린우리당, en: "Opened Our Party"), generally abbreviated to Uri Party (ko: 우리당, en: "Our Party"), was the briefly ruling political party in South Korea (2004–2007) with a liberal political ideology. Chung Sye Kyun was the last leader of the party and twice served as its chairman.

Brief history

The party was formed when loyalists to president Roh Moo-hyun in the Millennium Democratic Party chose to break ranks from other party members who showed lukewarm support for the administration. Some 42 out of 103 lawmakers of the Millennium Democratic Party joined the new party, and 5 lawmakers from the Grand National Party also joined, seeking to complete political reforms.

The Uri Party won a sweeping victory in the 2004 Parliamentary election, winning 152 of 299 seats. It was the first time that a liberal party had won a majority in 41 years.

Party platform and policy direction

Policywise, the Uri Party emphasized increased spending on social services for the low-income population while de-emphasizing economic growth. It was conciliatory towards North Korea while moving away from the traditional military alliance with the U.S. and Japan. Indeed, even after the testing of a nuclear bomb by North Korea, the Uri Party members have called for continued unconditional aid to North Korea, triggering heavy criticism and charges of its harboring Communist sympathizers. The Uri Party placed most of the blame for the crisis on the hard-line policies of the United States.

Significant events

The last Uri Party Leader, Chung Sye Kyun.

The party came to international attention when their members physically blocked the speaker's chair in the National Assembly in a failed attempt to prevent the impeachment vote on President Roh on March 12, 2004. (The vote was subsequently overruled by South Korea's Constitutional Court on May 14, 2004.)

On August 19, 2004, the party suffered an embarrassing setback when party chairman Shin Ki Nam resigned following revelations by a national investigation that his father had worked for the Japanese military police during the Japanese occupation. The investigation, initiated on the 56th anniversary of Liberation Day (August 15, 2004) by President Roh, was a part of a national campaign to shed light on the activity of collaborators during the Japanese occupation. Ironically, the campaign was vocally supported by Shin and backed by the Uri Party.

The party's popularity has decreased considerably after the 2004 election because of internal strife and scandals related to the President, who had admitted to feeling "incompetent" and unfit for the job. The Uri party failed to secure a single seat out of six electoral districts in the by-election held on April 30, 2005, losing its majority status in the National Assembly.

Prior to the Uri Party's devastating defeat in regional elections held on May 31, 2006, Chung apologized for the party's "self-righteous attitude and inadequacy". The party failed to win in all but one area, while the opposition Grand National Party took 12 of the 16 key regional posts in the election. The Uri Party even lost in Daejeon, a city long considered a secure ruling-party stronghold.

Merger with the United New Democratic Party

On August 18, 2007, the delegates of the Uri Party decided to merge with the newly created liberal party called "the United New Democratic Party" to form the Democratic Party.[1]

Election results

Legislative elections

Election Total seats won Total votes Share of votes Outcome of election Election leader Party Name
152 / 299
8,145,824 38.3% Increase102 seats; Majority Government Chung Dong-young Uri Party

Local elections

Election Metropolitan mayor/Governor Provincial legislature Municipal mayor Municipal legislature Party Name
1 / 16
52 / 733
19 / 230
630 / 2,888
Uri Party

See also


  1. Uri Disbands to Merge With Liberal Party, The Korea Times, Retrieved on August 19, 2007

External links

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