N.Korean defectors launch 1st-ever political party

SEOUL, MAR 7 (IANS) | Publish Date: 3/7/2020 9:26:38 AM IST

In a first, North Korean defectors launched a political party in South Korea, vowing to work toward “liberating” people in their homeland from autocratic rule and promoting the rights of defectors, it was reported.

“Although we are few in number I feel that we have great potential... Just two months ago I, myself, was sceptical as to whether or not we would be able to launch the party but a miracle happened today thanks to everyone here,” Yonhap News Agency quoted Thae Yong-ho, a former No. 2 diplomat at North Korea’s Embassy in London, as saying on Friday at the ceremony to launch the Inter-Korean Unification Party. The launch came after about 200 defectors formed a preparatory committee last month. Thae, who defected to South Korea in 2016, joined the main opposition United Future Party last month and announced his bid to run in the April 15 parliamentary elections, vowing to work for inter-Korean unification if elected. “The number of defectors in South Korea is only few but the fact that a defector is running for parliament means that we have been accepted by society,” he said.
According to the party manifesto, the “ultimate goal is the liberation of North Koreans, and the reason for launching the party is to protect the rights of defectors”, Yonhap News Agency reported.
Forming a political party in South Korea requires more than 1,000 party members in five cities or provinces, according to the Political Parties Act.
Organisers said they have fulfilled the requirement from Seoul, Incheon, Gyeonggi province, South Gyeongsang and North Jeolla provinces during the period between February 6 to March 1.

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