Open main menu

Hwang Kyo-ahn (Hangul황교안; Hanja黃敎安; RRHwang Gyo-an; born 15 April 1957) is a South Korean politician. Hwang was the 40th Prime Minister of South Korea from 18 June 2015 to 11 May 2017, having previously served as Justice Minister.

Hwang Kyo-ahn
Hwang Kyo-ahn December 2016.jpg
Chairman of the Liberty Korea Party
Assumed office
27 February 2019
Preceded byKim Byong-joon (Interim)
President of South Korea
In office
10 March 2017 – 10 May 2017
Acting while President Park's powers and duties were suspended from 9 December 2016 to 10 March 2017
Preceded byPark Geun-hye
Succeeded byMoon Jae-in
40th Prime Minister of South Korea
In office
18 June 2015 – 11 May 2017
PresidentPark Geun-hye
Himself (Acting)
Moon Jae-in
Preceded byChoi Kyoung-hwan (Acting)
Succeeded byYoo Il-ho (Acting)
Minister of Justice
In office
11 March 2013 – 18 June 2015
Prime MinisterChung Hong-won
Lee Wan-koo
Choi Kyoung-hwan (Acting)
Preceded byGwon Jae-jin
Succeeded byKim Ju-hyeon (Acting)
Personal details
Born (1957-04-15) 15 April 1957 (age 62)
Seoul, South Korea
Political partyLiberty Korea
Spouse(s)Choi Ji-young
Alma materSungkyunkwan University (LLB, LLM)
Korean name
Revised RomanizationHwang Gyo-an
McCune–ReischauerHwang Kyo-an
IPAhwaŋ kjoan

He served as Acting President of South Korea following the impeachment and removal of President Park Geun-hye by the Constitutional Court of Korea on 10 March 2017, until the election of Moon Jae-in on 9 May 2017. He had already taken over Park's presidential powers and duties on 9 December 2016 when impeachment proceedings were launched against her by the National Assembly and she was suspended from the powers and duties of the office.[1]

Hwang is currently the leader of the conservative Liberty Korea Party.[2]


Early life and educationEdit

Hwang was born on April 15, 1957.[3] He graduated from Kyunggi High School in 1976.[3] He received his LL.B in 1981 from the College of Law at Sungkyunkwan University, and passed the 23rd National Bar Exam the same year.[3] He is a member of the Korea Baptist Convention[4]

Hwang earned his LL.M. in 2006 from the Graduate School of Law at Sungkyunkwan University.[3]

As prosecutorEdit

Hwang was a career prosecutor.[3][5] He spent 30 years as a prosecutor, specializing "in enforcing public safety and national security laws, gaining particular expertise in legislation targeting groups linked to North Korea"—activities that prompted criticism from the South Korean opposition.[6]

Administrative careerEdit

Justice Minister (2013–2015)Edit

Hwang joined the Cabinet of South Korean President Park Geun-hye in 2013 as minister of justice.[6] In that role, Hwang played a key role in the Constitutional Court case against the left-wing Unified Progressive Party (which was accused of holding pro-North Korean views); the case culminated in a controversial December 2014 order banning the party, a decision that some saw as a blow to freedom of speech in South Korea.[6][7]

Prime Minister (2015–2017)Edit

On May 21, 2015, Park named Hwang as Prime Minister of South Korea, following the resignation of Lee Wan-koo due to allegations of bribery.[6][1][5]

In July 2016, Hwang was heckled and pelted with eggs and water bottles by crowds in the rural town of Seongju, who were opposed to deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (a U.S. missile defense system) in the area.[8] The deployment plans angered local residents, who raised health and environmental concerns.[7][8]

Hwang "was regarded as the staunchest loyalist in Park's cabinet."[7] Nevertheless, on November, 2 2016, one month before her impeachment, Park fired Hwang as Prime Minister amid the 2016 South Korean political scandal as Park tried to rebuild confidence in her administration.[9][10] However, after "a dispute with opposition leaders over choosing a replacement," Hwang was kept in office as prime minister.[10]

Afterwards, Hwang attended the APEC meeting, which was held in Peru, on behalf of Park.

Acting President (2016–2017)Edit

Hwang meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis in February 2017
Hwang meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on March 17, 2017

On December 9, 2016, upon National Assembly's vote to impeach President Park following a political scandal, Hwang assumed Park's presidential powers and duties as Acting President.[11] On March 10, 2017, South Korea's Constitution Court upheld the decision to impeach President Park Geun-hye, meaning Hwang will continue as Acting President of South Korea until the inauguration of the next elected President set to take place in early May.[12] On assuming the powers of the presidency, Hwang said he felt "deep responsibility".[11] The exact extent of Hwang's powers as acting president are unclear under South Korean law.[7]

His first field tour as acting president was to the Joint Chiefs of Staff in central Seoul, where he emphasized national security and stated "We are facing a grave security status, as we cannot entirely rule out the possibility of North Korean provocations near the Northern Limit Line (NLL)."[13]

Hwang decided against contesting the South Korean 2017 presidential election, declaring it would be inappropriate to run, opting instead to focus on his position as Acting President.[14][15] He was previously seen as the leading candidate for conservatives within the country, leaving them searching for a viable candidate other than Hwang to challenge leading contender Moon Jae-in for the presidency.[16]

He resigned as Prime Minister on May 11, 2017, after the election of his successor as president.[17]

Political Career (2018 -)Edit

On November 2018, Hwang joined Liberty Korea Party. He announced in January 2019 that he would be seeking the party's leadership position.[18] On February 27, 2019, he won Liberty Korea Party leadership election with 50.1 percent of the vote.[19] He took office as party leader through a party convention.


  1. ^ a b "Park names Justice Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn as new PM". Yonhap. 21 May 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  2. ^ "한국당 새 대표에 황교안…2위 오세훈·3위 김진태(상보)". News 1 (뉴스 1) (in Korean). 27 February 2019. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e Minister's Profile, MOJ, Ministry of Justice, Republic of Korea (accessed December 11, 2016).
  4. ^ "황교안 후보자 17년 간 장학금 기부… 젊은 검사시절부터 이웃돕기 (Hope candidates donate scholarships for 17 years)" (in Korean). KMIB. 25 February 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  5. ^ a b "South Korea's Park names new PM after scandal strikes again". Reuters. 21 May 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d Koichi Kato, Meet South Korea's new leader, Hwang Kyo-ahn: Conservative prosecutor has history of friction with opposition, The Nikkei (December 10, 2016).
  7. ^ a b c d S. Korea's interim leader was Park defender; powers unclear, Associated Press (December 9, 2016).
  8. ^ a b South Korean prime minister pelted with eggs by protesters, Agence France-Presse (July 15, 2016).
  9. ^ Griffiths, James; Seo, Yoonjung (2 November 2016). "South Korea's prime minister sacked amid ongoing political crisis". CNN. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  10. ^ a b Jonathan Cheng, South Korea President Park Geun-hye Impeached: Decision on removal will come from Constitutional Court, Wall Street Journal (December 9, 2016).
  11. ^ a b The latest: S. Korea PM officially becomes acting president, Associated Press (December 9, 2016).
  12. ^ Hancocks, Paula; Hunt, Katie; McKirdy, Euan (2017-03-09). "South Korea: Constitutional court upholds President Park Geun-hye's impeachment". CNN. CNN. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  13. ^ Hwang visits JCS in first field tour as acting president, Yonhap News Agency (December 11, 2016).
  14. ^ Sang-hun, Choe (15 March 2017). "South Korea to Elect New President in May, Government Says". Retrieved 16 May 2017 – via
  15. ^ "PM not to run for presidency". 15 March 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  16. ^ Sridharan, Vasudevan (15 March 2017). "South Korea's acting leader Hwang Kyo-ahn rules himself out of presidential race". Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  17. ^ "694일만에 떠나는 황교안…10번째 장수총리". Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  18. ^ "Ex-Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn Announces Candidacy in LKP Leadership Election". Retrieved 2019-01-30.
  19. ^ "한국당 새 대표에 황교안…2위 오세훈·3위 김진태(상보)". News 1 (뉴스 1) (in Korean). 27 February 2019. Retrieved 27 February 2019.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Choi Kyoung-hwan
Prime Minister of South Korea
Succeeded by
Yoo Il-ho
Preceded by
Park Geun-hye
President of South Korea

Acting for Park Geun-hye: 2016–2017
Succeeded by
Moon Jae-in