DP maintains controversial system of allocating proportional seats in April elections

SEOUL, The main opposition Democratic Party (DP) officially decided Tuesday to maintain the current system of allocating proportional seats in the upcoming April 10 parliamentary elections, triggering criticism that it is an attempt to exploit the system. The decision was reached after DP Chairman Lee Jae-myung opted to retain the system that has been criticized for encouraging major parties to establish several paper parties, commonly known as "satellite parties," for the 47 proportional representation seats in the 300-member National Assembly. The DP, which holds a majority in the Assembly, had entrusted Lee with the decision. The current system, known as the semi-mixed member proportional electoral system (MMP), was first introduced in the previous general elections in 2020 with the aim of ensuring fair representation for minor parties in the Assembly. Despite the system's intended purpose, criticism has arisen that major parties abused the system by creating satellite parties solely to secure addition al proportional seats. The ruling People Power Party (PPP) and other minor parties have called for a return to the so-called parallel representative system, where voters cast separate ballots for constituency seats, counting them separately from votes for parties. On Tuesday, the PPP intensified its criticism of the DP's decision, saying that the electoral system should be based on bipartisan agreement rather than the decision of one individual. Rep. Yang Hyang-ja, a former DP lawmaker who merged her party with former PPP leader Lee Jun-seok, also criticized the DP's decision, saying the major parties will again the exploit the system. Under the MMP representation system, parliamentary seats are tied to the percentage of voters' support for political parties. Just before the 2020 general elections, the Assembly amended the election laws to adopt the semi-MMP system, as advocated by the DP. Source: Yonhap News Agency