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April General Election D-7, introduction of the proportional representation system and satellite parties Updated: 2020-04-08 17:18:38 KST

South Korean parliament consists of 300 seats.
253 are elected through local constituencies while the remaining 47 are chosen through what's called "proportional representation".
But as per the electoral reform bill passed in late December, which introduces a 50% mixed-member proportional representation system, the way in which these 47 PR seats will be distributed has been altered.

Before the changes, the regular system reflected a party's voter turnout in relation to the 47 PR seats.
But with the new system, only 17 out of the 47 seats will follow the existing system. The remaining 30 seats will be distributed based on voter turnout in relation to all 300 seats, then subtracting the number of the local district seats they obtained and dividing the difference by two.

The new system was introduced in order to diversify Korea's National Assembly which has been dominated by the two largest parties.

But the-then main opposition, Liberty Korea Party now part of the current main opposition United Future Party strongly opposed the decision and launched a satellite party named the Future Korea Party. The ruling Democratic Party followed suit, launching the Civil Together Party.
The two satellite parties are ONLY putting forward candidates for the 47 proportional representation seats which will eventually allow their parent parties to grasp more seats as they plan to merge with their satellite parties after the election.

An expert in the industry says the launch of satellite parties diminishes the initial motive of better distributing PR seats to minor parties.

"Initially, the new PR system was introduced to make a party's seats proportional to the percentage of its votes in order to bring change to Korea's two party-led parliament.
But with the launch of satellite parties, and the scaling down of the number of seats affected by the new system to 30, the purpose of the PR system has been lost and the situation has become worse for minor parties."

Following the adoption of the new PR system, 33 OTHER parties are running to clinch proportional seats during the upcoming election, making this year's ballot paper the longest in Korean history.

Kim Mok-yeon, Arirang News.
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