Choi Kyu-hah

Choi Kyu-hah (Korean최규하; Hanja崔圭夏; Korean pronunciation: [tɕʰø.ɡju.ɦa] or [tɕʰø] [kju.ɦa]; July 16, 1919 – October 22, 2006), also spelled Choi Kyu-ha or Choi Gyu-ha, was President of South Korea between 1979 and 1980.

Choi Kyu-hah
Choi Kyu Hah.png
4th President of South Korea
In office
October 26, 1979 – August 16, 1980
Acting to December 6, 1979
Prime MinisterShin Hyun-hwak
Park Choong-hoon
Preceded byPark Chung-hee
Succeeded byChun Doo-hwan
Prime Minister of South Korea
In office
December 18, 1975 – December 12, 1979
PresidentPark Chung-hee
Preceded byKim Jong-pil
Succeeded byShin Hyun-hwak
Personal details
Born(1919-07-16)July 16, 1919
Wonju-myeon, Wonju County, Gangwon, Japanese Korea
DiedOctober 22, 2006(2006-10-22) (aged 87)
Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Resting placeDaejeon National Cemetery
NationalitySouth Korean
Political partyIndependent
Hong Gi
m. 1935)
Alma materUniversity of Tsukuba
Korean name
Revised RomanizationChoe Gyu-ha
McCune–ReischauerCh'oe Kyuha
Pen name
Revised RomanizationHyeonseok
Courtesy name
Revised RomanizationSeook

Early lifeEdit

Choi was born in Wonju, Gangwon Province when Korea was a part of the Empire of Japan. This area today is in South Korea.

Political careerEdit

Choi served as Ambassador to Malaysia from 1964 to 1967, foreign minister from 1967 to 1971; and as prime minister from 1975 to 1979.

After the assassination of Park Chung-hee in 1979, Choi became acting president; the prime minister stood next in line for the presidency under Article 48 of the Yushin Constitution. Due to the unrest resulting from Park's authoritarian rule, Choi promised democratic elections, as under Park elections had been widely seen as rigged. Choi also promised a new constitution to replace the highly authoritarian Yushin Constitution. Choi was the sole candidate in an election on 6 December for the balance of Park's term, becoming the country's fourth president.

Coup d'etat and forced resignationEdit

In December 1979, Major General Chun Doo-hwan and close allies within the military staged a coup d'état against Choi's government. They quickly removed the army chief of staff and virtually controlled the government by early 1980.

In April 1980, due to increasing pressure from Chun and other politicians, Choi appointed Chun head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency. In May, Chun declared martial law and dropped all pretense of civilian government, becoming the de facto ruler of the country. By then, student protests were escalating in Seoul and Gwangju. The protests in Gwangju resulted in the Gwangju uprising in which about 987 civilians were killed within a five-day period by Chun's military.

Choi was forced to resign soon after the uprising. Prime Minister Park Chung-hoon became acting president, until Chun's election as President on September 1, 1980.

Later lifeEdit

After his resignation, Choi lived quietly out of the public eye and died on October 22, 2006. Choi was buried in Daejeon National Cemetery on October 26, 2006.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Daejeon National Cemetery Timeline". Daejeon National Cemetery. Retrieved 28 September 2014.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Park Chung-hee
President of South Korea
October 26, 1979–August 16, 1980
Succeeded by
Chun Doo-hwan
Preceded by
Kim Jong-pil
Prime Minister of South Korea
December 18, 1975–October 26, 1979
Succeeded by
Shin Hyun-hwak