South Korea Table of Contents
The New Democratic Party (NDP), the principal opposition party, also had its share of problems. Kim Young Sam was elected as NDP leader for three years in 1979, so his position would have been secure, had not the Ch'oe government restored Kim Dae Jung's civil rights. Even though Kim Dae Jung, the NDP presidential candidate in 1971, had been out of the political arena for more than seven years, he commanded a large political following. Because the NDP was expected to win the forthcoming election by a wide margin, the presidency of the republic was at stake in the negotiations for Kim Dae Jung's reinstatement in the party. In the end, negotiations broke off, and on April 7, 1980, Kim Dae Jung declared that he would no longer seek to rejoin the NDP.
Although Kim Young Sam and his supporters had waged a fierce political struggle against President Park toward the end of his rule, many of those in leadership positions in the NDP had tended to be accommodating to the Park regime. Kim Dae Jung and his followers, on the other hand, represented the active dissident students, intellectuals, and progressive Christians who had engaged in direct struggle against the Park regime. The chaeya seryok (literally, forces in the field, but the term also means an opposing political force) were more radical in orientation. Kim Dae Jung and his group wished to expedite the process of restoring democracy, even if it meant forcing the hands of Ch'oe and his supporters.
Data as of June 1990