South Korea's main opposition party changes name… again
SEOUL (AFP) – South Korea’s main opposition party changed its name for the second time in just seven months on Wednesday (Sept 2) as it battles falling public support.
The country’s political parties have a tendency to adopt new identities to try to sever ties with a tainted past or appeal to a wider audience.
The conservative United Future Party (UFP) – a name it adopted only in February as it sought to relaunch itself ahead of parliamentary elections – declared itself the People’s Power Party.
“The name change will become a big pillar for regaining the public’s trust and the party’s ruling power,” said acting leader Kim Chong-in.
Wednesday’s change gives the party its fourth name in three years.
Known as Saenuri – or New Frontier – under ousted president Park Geun-hye, it renamed itself Liberty Korea in 2017 to try to distance itself from the corruption scandal that brought her down.
It has struggled since Park’s fall in the face of defections by lawmakers and limited public appeal.
Its UFP identity did little to help in April’s vote, when it suffered a crushing defeat, taking just 103 seats in the 300-member National Assembly.
Its support fell five points to 30.1 per cent last week, according to a Realmeter poll, while President Moon Jae-in’s ruling Democratic Party had 40.4 per cent backing.
The latest name change raised scepticism over whether it would be enough to shift public sentiment.
“Altering a party’s name translates into a determination to separate itself from its past,” said an editorial carried by the Joongang Daily newspaper.
But it added: “The party must prove its ideals through action… If it fails to reform itself sincerely, it cannot expect any victory in future elections.”
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