South Korea’s Bareun Party to elect new leader as influence wanes

South Korea bow
Photo: BBC
South Korea bow
Photo: BBC

South Korea’s centre-right Bareun Party will vote for a new leader today.

Lee Hye-hoon stood down in September after just three months in the job after she was accused of corruption. The scandal resulted in nine of the party’s 20 lawmakers defecting the main opposition party, Liberty Korea, from which Bareun splintered last December.

With just 11 remaining members, Bareun’s influence in South Korean politics is much diminished; parliamentary rules require a party to have at least 20 lawmakers in order to form a parliamentary negotiating bloc. Along with the political ramifications, the loss of this status means the party’s state funding will be reduced by two-thirds.

On the other hand, the defections give Liberty Korea 116 seats in the National Assembly, which is just five short of President Moon Jae-in’s Democratic Party.

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