South Korean Political Party New Politics Alliance for Democracy Changes to ‘Together Democratic Party’

Michael Song, Dec. 29, 2015, 7:36 a.m.


The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy on Monday once again changed its name to "Together Democratic Party," literally translated. Such name changes are a regular occurrence and confuse few Korean voters, who have known the same party as the Democratic Party and by several other names.



The moniker NPAD stuck for just over a year, an exceptionally short time, and the current name has led some ingenious linguists to infer that it is a mere stepping stone to a return to "Democratic Party," the home after all of former President Kim Dae-jung and other luminaries.

Yet Kim himself founded it as the National Congress for New Politics in 1995, whence it mutated into the Millennium Democratic Party in 2000, the Uri Party in 2003, the Democratic Party in 2005, the United New Democratic Party in 2007, the United Democratic Party in 2008, the Democratic Party again in 2011, the Democratic United Party in 2011, the Democratic Party yet again in 2013, and the NPAD in 2014. 

That suggests it has one name it will always revert to in times of trouble, but name changes are a way for new blood to voice their discontent so that everything can change even as it stays the same. 

This time the main purpose of renaming it was to erase the unpleasant odor left by the departure of Ahn Cheol-soo, the ex-tycoon and champion of a new politics. Ahn joined the party in March 2014 on condition that they would work on reforming politics and announced his departure saying that they failed to do so. 

Now Ahn and most of his retinue have left, there is no reason for the party to keep the name his arrival brought. Ahn himself said, "Nobody believes changing the wrapping paper has made a difference to the present. The party honestly has to try and change the substance as well as the name."

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