Korea Democratic Party
한국민주당 / 한민당
LeaderSong Jin-woo
Kim Seong-su
Succeeded byDemocratic Nationalist Party
IdeologyLiberal democracy
Korean nationalism[1]
Pro-American policy[2][3]
Conservatism (de facto)[A]
Political positionRight-wing[1][4][5]
ColoursRed and Green

^ A: The KDP belongs to the Minjudangkye liberal party genealogy, not the pro-Rhee conservative party genealogy of South Korea, but the actual political stance at the time was right-wing conservative.[5][6]
Korea Democratic Party
Revised RomanizationHan-guk Minjudang
McCune–ReischauerHan'guk Minjudang

The Korea Democratic Party (Korean: 한국민주당, Hanguk Minjudang, KDP) was the leading opposition party in the first years of the First Republic of Korea. It existed from 1945 to 1949, when it merged with other opposition parties.

The U.S. military government has defined the KDP as conservatives with high educational standards, and believes they want Western democracy.[7] However, modern South Korean political academia recognizes them as South Korea's first liberal party. However, unlike the current Democratic Party, the KDP was an right-wing anti-communist, Confucian conservative and economic liberal force hostile to communist forces in the north, advocating hatred and violence against leftist and socialist.[4]


The KDP was established in 1945 by conservative nationalists headed by Song Jin-woo who were opposed to the People's Republic of Korea government set up by Lyuh Woon-hyung, instead backing the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea.[4] After Song was assassinated later in the year, he was succeeded as leader by Kim Seong-su.[4] The Democratic Party won a third of the seats in the Interim Legislative Assembly elections in October 1946, and although it opposed the Assembly's existence due to some of its leadership being excluded,[8] the party provided several of the key figures in the interim administration.[4]

However, its closeness to the American occupation force, together with its association with the landed gentry, meant that it never gained significant popular support.[4] In the May 1948 elections the party won only 29 of the 200 seats, and although it supported Syngman Rhee in the July 1948 presidential elections, none of its members were included in his cabinet, a snub that led to the party joining the opposition.

On 10 February 1949 it merged with other groups in the legislature to form the Democratic Nationalist Party.


  1. ^ a b James E. Hoare, ed. (2019). Historical Dictionary of Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 323. ISBN 9781538119747. In December 1945, the United States Army Military Government proscribed it in the south, preferring to work with right-wing nationalist groups such as the Korea Democratic Party.
  2. ^ Gerry van Tonder, ed. (2018). North Korea Invades the South: Across the 38th Parallel, June 1950. Pen and Sword. ISBN 9781526708205. ... and the pro-American, right-wing movement, the Korean Democratic Party (KDP) were actively vying for political control. In North Korea, however, ..
  3. ^ Sheldon W. Simon, ed. (2016). East Asian Security in the Post-Cold War Era. Routledge. p. 61. ISBN 9781315486604. Widening divisions between Korean political rivals, most notably Kim Il-song's communist North Korean Worker's Party and Syngman Rhee's pro-American Korean Democratic Party (KDP) based in South Korea, complicated the task of managing a ...
  4. ^ a b c d e f Haruhiro Fukui (1985) Political parties of Asia and the Pacific, Greenwood Press, pp670–671
  5. ^ a b Tosh Minohara, Evan Dawley, ed. (2020). Beyond Versailles: The 1919 Moment and a New Order in East Asia. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 111. ISBN 9781498554473. ... and then after the war they rallied around the Korean Democratic Party, a conservative right-wing party. ...
  6. ^ Hugh Dyson Walker, ed. (2012). East Asia: A New History. AuthorHouse. p. 610. ISBN 9781477265161. ... Now led by members of the Korean Democratic Party, it retained nearly 80% of police who had formerly served under the Japanese. The right-wing outlook of the Korean Democratic Party kept conservative control in politics, the military, ...
  7. ^ FRUS, 1945, VI, pp. 1049-53, 1059-1061
  8. ^ South Korea Under United States Occupation, 1945-48 Library of Congress Country Studies