February 25, 2024
Analysis

What S. Korea’s dissolution of a ‘pro-North’ party means

Dissolution of UPP may have broad implications at the local, national level

In a landmark decision on Friday, the South Korean Constitutional Court ruled 8 to 1 that the Unified Progressive Party (UPP) should be dissolved and its five national assembly members should lose their seats, effective immediately. This is the first time in South Korean history that a political party has been subject to forcible dissolution by order of the Constitutional Court.

The court ruled that the party was a “threat to the democratic order,” being an organization committed to what the UPP calls “progressive democracy,” which has been deemed a cover for “the creation of North Korean-style socialism” in South Korea. The UPP’s association with members from a former pro-North Korean political party as well as other details (discussed below) were sufficient for the court to regard the party as a substantial threat. With regard to the question of proportionality, the majority argued that “the special circumstances that the republic is in, confronted by an anti-state organization known as North Korea that intends to overthrow the South Korean state through a strategy of instigating a revolution in the south, must be given due consideration.”