Lee Jun-seok Launches the New Reform Party

Ousted conservative leader began his third party bid as others seek alliance.

Lee Jun-seok Launches the New Reform Party

Photo: Lee Jun-seok at the launch ceremony. Credit: Sisa Magazine.

On January 20, the former chairman of the People Power Party 국민의힘 officially launched his new party, the latest move in the long-running feud with the ruling conservative party that began in July 2022 after Lee was ousted from party leadership over clashes with President Yoon Suk-yeol 윤석열 대통령. (See previous coverage, “Fall of the House of Lee.”) 

The 38-year-old Lee, who rose to prominence by riding a rising tide of toxic misogyny among young South Korean men, said he aims to win 20 to 30 seats in the General Election this April. The first plank in the New Reform Party’s platform: ending free subway rides for senior citizens. 

Other independents have courted Lee to form an alliance between minority parties. Former Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon 이낙연 전 총리, who quit the Democratic Party 민주당 on January 11, attended the launch event for Lee Jun-seok’s NRP and called for “wide-ranging cooperation on the historical tasks we face.” Former Assembly Member Geum Tae-seop 금태섭, who launched the New Choice Party 새로운선택 after stints in both the Democratic Party and the PPP, also suggested that all minor third parties form a single coalition.

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