New World Party
Published 16th February, 2012
The New World Party or NWP is the name adopted by the Grand National Party or GNP in February 2012. The GNP was founded in 1997 as a merger between the New Korea Party (NKP) and the Democratic Party (DP). It can, however, trace its history back further to 1963 and the Democratic Republican Party (DRP); this party was renamed the Democratic Justice Party (DJP) in 1980 and changed again in 1993 when it became the Democratic Liberal Party (DLP). The DLP, in turn was renamed the New Korea Party in 1995 and then in 1997 it finally became the Grand National Party (GNP).
The party describes itself as a right wing party and believes in Conservatism and liberal conservatism.
The merger of the New Korea Party and the Democratic Party took place on the eve of the 1997 presidential election and resulted in support for a joint presidential candidate Lee Hoi-chang. He eventually came second in the election, taking 38.7% of the vote.
In 1996 the New Korea Party had lost its absolute majority n the general election, taking 139 of the 299 seats in the National Assembly, and the GNP when formed a year later became the main opposition to the post 1998 administration of Kim Dae-jung.
In the 2000 elections the Grand National Party took 133 of the slightly smaller 273 seat National Assembly. By 2002 they had gained control of the parliament through a series of by-elections. Nevertheless, their presidential candidate, Lee Hoi-chang narrowly failed to win the 2002 presidential campaign, taking 46.59% of the vote compared with the winning Roo Moo-hyun on 48.91%.
The party faced damaging revelations about financial links with the chaebol business conglomerates in 2003 and incurred further unpopularity by bringing about the impeachment of the president in March 2004.
In the subsequent general election they were reduced to 121 seats out of a possible 299 in the National Assembly; the first time they had not secured the largest party position in parliament. Subsequent by-elections brought their numbers up to 127 seats.
Following a period of turmoil, in 2007 their presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak won the presidential election, taking 48.7% of the vote. The following year the Grand National Party came back strongly and took 153 of the 299 seats in the National Assembly. This result gave them control of the presidency, the parliament and much of local government.
In more recent times the party has suffered from a number of scandals and has lost a lot of its popularity. In 2010 they lost many seats in the local elections and in 2011 they lost control of the mayoralty of Seoul, the capital.
The New World Party is a member of the International Democrat Union (IDU).