DPK interim leader's push for 586 Generation politicians to step aside meets resistance
Park Ji-hyun, the co-interim leader of the liberal Democratic Party of Korea (DPK), is seeking to bring change in the giant main opposition party by proposing that senior lawmakers ― members of the "586 Generation" ― step aside to make room for the young generation, but her attempt has sparked discord as she has faced resistance from within. Korea's 586 Generation refers to those who are currently in their 50s, entered university in the 1980s and were born in the 1960s. During a meeting with the party leadership, Wednesday, Park said that the mission of the politicians of the 586 Generation had been to restore democracy and make it take root in Korea, but now that this role has been almost fulfilled, they should prepare for a "beautiful exit" from politics to help the party regain public trust ahead of the June 1 local elections. A day before the remarks, she had held a press conference and apologized to the public on behalf of the DPK and announced a reform plan, but it had been held without the full agreement of the other members of the party leadership.
Park, 26, rose to the party's leadership after it lost the March 9 presidential election, in a bid to give a breath of fresh air to the party ahead of the June 1 local elections. However, recent surveys show that odds are leaning towards the ruling People Power Party, while Park's call for the 586 Generation to step back and leave space for those in their 20s and 30s is facing resistance from some party members. After the meeting, Yun told reporters that "the 586 Generation's exit is not a matter that can be decided by some people before the local election. Park's efforts to ask the 586 Generation to step aside are interpreted by some as factional infighting within the DPK, and by others as sincere efforts to reform and renew the party, since the party's primaries for the March 9 presidential candidate.
During the primaries, the liberal party divided into two factions between those supporting former President Moon Jae-in and those supporting Lee-Jae-myung, who was selected as the presidential candidate at the time, but who lost by a razor-thin margin. While the DPK is still dominated by the pro-Moon group, many of whom are 586 Generation politicians, Park started her political career by joining Lee's campaign, thus receiving support from the pro-Lee group. "The DPK handed over the government created by the people holding candles to the prosecutor-led administration in just five years, so it is natural for the party to reflect and apologize in front of the public," Rep. According to a Gallup Korea poll released on May 20, the DPK's support rate was at 29 percent, which was the lowest since November of last year.
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