March 1960 South Korean presidential election

Presidential and vice-presidential elections were held in South Korea on 15 March 1960.[1] Shortly after winning reelection to a second term in the 1952 presidential election, Rhee had the legislature pass a constitutional amendment exempting himself from the two-term limit, allowing himself to run for and win a third term in 1956 and in March 1960.

March 1960 South Korean elections

← 1956 15 March 1960 August 1960 →
Presidential election
  Rhee Syng-Man in 1948.jpg
Candidate Syngman Rhee
Party Liberal
Popular vote 9,633,376
Percentage 100%

President before election

Syngman Rhee
Liberal

Elected President

Syngman Rhee
Liberal

Vice-Presidential election
  Lee gi bung.png John Myun.jpg
Candidate Lee Ki Poong Chang Myon
Party Liberal Democratic
Popular vote 8,337,059 1,843,758
Percentage 79.2% 17.5%

Vice-President before election

Chang Myon
Democratic

Elected Vice-President

Lee Ki-bung
Liberal

After the death of Democratic Party opponent Cho Pyong-ok, Rhee was left as the only candidate, and was re-elected unopposed.[2] Voter turnout was 97.0%.[3] With the lack of a meaningful contest in the presidential race, popular focus shifted to the vice-presidential contest where Rhee's Liberal Party candidate Lee Ki-bung competed against Chang Myon. The elections were heavily rigged in Lee's favor, and widespread allegations of corruption and manipulation of the results sparked protests which spiralled into the April Revolution, causing the annulment of the election, the resignation and exile of Rhee, and the collapse of the First Republic.

ResultsEdit

PresidentEdit

Popular hopes of unseating Rhee were frustrated by the death of his opponent Cho Pyong-ok several weeks before the election, leaving Rhee to be elected without opposition.[4]

The constitution stated, if there was only one candidate, they were required to receive at least 30% of the total votes cast in order to be elected, including blank and invalid votes. As the only candidate, Rhee received 88.7% of all votes cast. Dissent to the authoritarian president was more apparent in the urban areas than the rest of the country. In Seoul, nearly a third of the votes were invalid or blank, while in the vice presidential election held simultaneously, only 2.9% of the ballots were invalidated.[5]

SummaryEdit

Candidate Party Votes %
Syngman Rhee Liberal Party 9,633,376 100
Invalid/blank votes 1,228,896
Total 10,862,272 100
Registered voters/turnout 11,196,490 97.0
Source: Nohlen et al.

By regionEdit

Region Syngman Rhee Invalid Abstained %
Votes % Votes %
Seoul 684,146 66.0 264,193 25.5 87,577 8.5
Gyeonggi 1,139,927 84.9 168,401 12.5 34,990 2.6
Gangwon 829,131 94.0 44,665 5.1 7,902 0.9
North Chungcheong 510,369 86.2 66,068 11.2 15,855 2.7
South Chungcheong 988,180 90.7 68,952 6.3 32,755 3.0
North Jeolla 919,529 87.8 113,640 10.8 14,619 1.4
South Jeolla 1,398,887 92.0 108,902 7.2 12,802 0.8
North Gyeongsang 1,403,461 83.9 203,105 12.1 66,956 4.0
South Gyeongsang 1,632,159 86.7 190,158 10.1 60,249 3.2
Jeju 127,587 99.0 812 0.6 513 0.4
Total 9,633,376 86.0 1,228,896 11.0 334,218 3.0
Source: National Election Commission[6]

Vice-PresidentEdit

With no competition for Rhee in the presidential elections of 1960 after the death of his opponent, the simultaneous vice-presidential elections became the main focus of attention. Opposition to Rhee was concentrated around the incumbent Democratic Party candidate, Chang Myon, who had been elected in 1956.[2] Official results after the election showed a large victory for the Liberal candidate, Lee Ki Poong, with a margin of almost 80% to Chang's 17.5%, entirely against popular expectations, and it was obvious that the results had been extensively manipulated: Han goes so far as to say that "the election results were completely fabricated by police headquarters and the ministry of internal affairs".[2]

The Democratic Party rejected the result and on the same day, protests began in Masan against the fabrication of the election results. The discovery of the mutilated body of a sixteen-year-old boy who had participated in these protests in early April caused a wave of further protest, and Rhee's obdurate attitude led to the intensification of unrest into the April Revolution,[7] though Rhee forced Lee to withdraw from active politics.[8] The results of the elections were nullified after the Revolution's triumph later in the year, though Chang himself resigned on April 23.[9]

SummaryEdit

Candidate Party Votes %
Lee Ki Poong Liberal Party 8,337,059 79.2
Chang Myon Democratic Party 1,843,758 17.5
Kim Jun-yeon Unification Party 249,095 2.4
Louise Yim National Association 97,533 0.9
Total 10,527,445 100
Source:

By regionEdit

Region Lee Ki-poong Chang Myon Kim Jun-yeon Louise Yim
Votes % Votes % Votes % Votes %
Seoul 509,693 55.3 378,399 41.1 20,154 2.2 12,704 1.4
Gyeonggi 955,804 75.6 278,686 22.1 20,372 1.6 8,771 0.7
Gangwon 786,595 91.6 64,743 7.5 5,468 0.6 1,543 0.2
North Chungcheong 437,883 78.6 98,583 17.7 15,196 2.7 5,165 0.9
South Chungcheong 884,856 84.7 140,567 13.5 12,488 1.2 6,327 0.6
North Jeolla 851,878 85.5 89,846 9.0 32,176 3.2 22,799 2.3
South Jeolla 1,218,247 83.8 140,664 9.7 80,491 5.5 13,612 0.9
North Gyeongsang 1,166.341 75.5 340,214 22.0 27,759 1.8 11,286 0.7
South Gyeongsang 1,398,637 79.5 311,320 17.7 34,869 2.0 15,284 0.9
Jeju 127,125 99.3 736 0.6 122 0.1 42 0.0
Total 8,337,059 79.2 1,843,758 17.5 249,095 2.4 97,533 0.9

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Dieter Nohlen, Florian Grotz & Christof Hartmann (2001) Elections in Asia: A data handbook, Volume II, p420 ISBN 0-19-924959-8
  2. ^ a b c Han, S-J. (1974) The Failure of Democracy in South Korea. University of California Press, p. 28.
  3. ^ Nohlen et al., p464
  4. ^ Lie, J. (2000) Han Unbound: The Political Economy of South Korea. Stanford University Press, p. 36.
  5. ^ Results of 1948-1992 Presidential Elections. National Election Commission of the Republic of Korea, 1996.
  6. ^ "개표현황". National Election Commission. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  7. ^ Han, p. 29.
  8. ^ Han, p. 30.
  9. ^ Reeve, W. D. (1979) The Republic of Korea: A Political and Economic Study. Greenwood Press, p.50.