Ruling PPP suffers crushing defeat in general election by winning only 108 seats

2024.04.12 18:02 입력 2024.04.12 18:49 수정
By Jo Mi-dup

Han Dong-hoon, former interim leader of the emergency committee, bows after announcing his stance on the general election at the central party headquarters in Yeouido, Seoul, on Nov. 11. Jae-won Moon

Han Dong-hoon, former interim leader of the emergency committee, bows after announcing his stance on the general election at the central party headquarters in Yeouido, Seoul, on Nov. 11. Jae-won Moon

The ruling People's Power Party (PPP) obtained a dismal 108 seats in the 22nd general election, including 90 constituency seats and 18 seats by its satellite party, the People Future Party, under a proportional representation system. The ruling party has lost control of the National Assembly for president Yoon Suk-yeol’s five-year term and has been in a position to obtain consent from the opposition parties about almost every political activity from passage of bills to budget plans. There are concerns that the vicious circle will continue, as the PPP’s constituency seats are heavily concentrated in the southeastern region of Korea, making it even more difficult for the ruling party to target the Seoul metropolitan area. The PPP now has the task of establishing a new leadership and improving the relationship between the party and the government without much internal strife in the face of cold public sentiment.

The 108 seats that the PPP gained cannot prevent the speed war of legislation promoted by the opposition parties, such as fast track and filibuster. To pass bills and budget plans, the ruling party needs the consent of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK). In addition to the appointment of the speaker of the National Assembly, the DPK will take precedence in nominating the standing committee chairperson in the National Assembly.

The PPP obtained the minimum number of seats (100 seats) that can prevent the passage of a second vote when Yoon vetoes a bill. However, this cordon could also collapse if some 10 party members vote against the party. In the second half of Yoon's term, there could be a situation where the president fears experiencing a lame-duck phenomenon earlier than he expected while concerning negative votes from the ruling party.

There are no friendly forces within the National Assembly. The hardline conservative Liberty Unification Party failed to enter the parliament and there are no independents leaning to the ruling party. Although the Reform Party, which was created by defectors from the PPP, won three seats in the National Assembly, it is highly likely to confront the ruling party for the time being as it emphasizes becoming a "clear opposition party."

The PPP has fewer seats, but the content is even worse. In the Seoul Metropolitan area, which is a key battleground, the ruling party continued its worst performance following the 21st general election. In the previous general election, the party won only 16 out of 121 seats in the capital area, while it secured 19 out of 122 seats this time. In Chungcheong Province, it won only 6 out of 28 seats. The majority of constituency seats came from the country’s Yeongnam (southeastern) region and Gangwon Province. An official from the PPP said in a phone interview, "With fewer lawmakers who understand the public sentiment in the capital region, the party may become more Yeongnam-centered and gradually move away from the capital.

In the composition of lawmakers, there are also fewer first-time lawmakers than in other elections, so there may be fewer opportunities to showcase the party's reformist image.

The PPP now operates the "emergency committee of the emergency committee" system as Han Dong-hoon, former interim leader of the emergency committee, resigned to take responsibility for the crushing defeat in the general election. Floor leader Yoon Jae-ok is expected to serve as acting leader of the new emergency committee until the next leadership is elected.

Within the ruling party, they are discussing the reasons for the crushing defeat and coming up with their own remedies. Most are calling for President Yoon to change the stance of the government and strengthen communication. A PPP lawmaker said, "Leader Han called for voters to judge DPK leader Lee Jae-myung and Cho Kuk, leader of the Korea Rebuilding Party and former Justice Minister, during the election campaign. But we should get out of the prosecutor's view that divides everyone into criminals and non-criminals."

Some said that the ruling party should take the lead in the future relationship between the party and the government. Now that the general election is over, some analysts say that the president's power will weaken, and the balance between the party and the government will be balanced. An official from the ruling camp said, "Why would lawmakers be wary of the president when the nomination is over?” adding, "If the controversies from the presidential office continues, the ruling party could ask the president to leave it again." Some argue that Yoon should come up with measures to overcome the current situation where the opposition party is a majority.

※This article has undergone review by a professional translator after being translated by an AI translation tool.

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