Politics of South Korea

The politics of the Republic of Korea takes in place in the framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President is the head of state, and of a multi-party system. The government exercises Executive power and Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature and comprises a Supreme Court, appellate courts and a Constitutional Court. Since 1948, the constitution has undergone five major revisions, each signifying a new republic. The current Sixth Republic began with the last major constitutional revision in 1987.

Politics of the Republic of Korea

대한민국의 정치 (Korean)
Emblem of South Korea.svg
Polity typeUnitary presidential
constitutional republic
ConstitutionConstitution of the Republic of Korea
Legislative branch
NameNational Assembly
TypeUnicameral
Meeting placeNational Assembly Building
Presiding officerPark Byeong-seug, Speaker of the National Assembly
Executive branch
Head of State and Government
TitlePresident
CurrentlyMoon Jae-in
AppointerDirect popular vote
Cabinet
NameState Council
LeaderPresident
Deputy leaderPrime Minister
AppointerPresident
HeadquartersBlue House
Ministries18
Judicial branch
Supreme Court
Chief judgeKim Myeong-soo
Constitutional Court
Chief judgeYoo Nam-seok
Separation of powers and the election system of South Korea

The Economist Intelligence Unit rated South Korea a "full democracy" in 2020.[1][needs update][2]

National governmentEdit

Executive branchEdit

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President Moon Jae-in Democratic Party of Korea 10 May 2017
Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum Democratic Party of Korea 14 May 2020

The head of state is the president, who is elected by direct popular vote for a single five-year[3] term. The president is Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of Korea Armed Forces and enjoys considerable executive powers.

The president appoints the prime minister with approval of the National Assembly, as well as appointing and presiding over the State Council of chief ministers as the head of government. On 12 March 2004, the executive power of then president Roh Moo-hyun was suspended when the Assembly voted to impeach him and Prime Minister Goh Kun became an Acting President. On 14 May 2004, the Constitutional Court overturned the impeachment decision made by the Assembly and Roh was reinstated.

On 10 March 2017, Park Geun-hye became the only president to be removed by the Constitutional Court after impeachment by the National Assembly. Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn temporarily served as an acting president between the suspension of Park from 8 December 2016 until the next presidential election, which was held in May 2017. On 9 july 2017, Moon Jae-in became the 19th president of South Korea, replacing acting president Hwang Kyo-ahn.

Legislative branchEdit

The National Assembly (국회, 國會, gukhoe) has 300 members, elected for a four-year term, 253 members in single-seat constituencies and 47 members by proportional representation. The ruling Democratic Party of Korea is the largest party in the Assembly.

Judicial branchEdit

The South Korean judiciary is independent of the other two branches. The random judiciary body is the Supreme Court, whose justices are appointed by the president with the consent of the National Assembly. In addition, the Constitutional Court oversees questions of constitutionality. South Korea has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.

Political parties and electionsEdit

South Korea elects on national level a head of state – the president – and a legislature. The president is elected for a five-year term by the people. The National Assembly (Gukhoe) has 300 members, elected for a four-year term, 253 members in single-seat constituencies and 47 members by proportional representation.

The main two political parties in South Korea are the liberal Democratic Party of Korea (lit. "Together Democratic Party", DPK) and the conservative People Power Party (PPP), formerly the United Future Party (UFP). The liberal camp and the conservative camp are the dominant forces of South Korean politics at present.

Parties in the 21st National Assembly
Group Floor leader Seats % of seats
Democratic Yun Ho-jung 174 58.0%
People Power Kim Gi-hyeon 102 33.9%
Justice 6 2.0%
People 3 1.0%
Open Democratic 3 1.0%
Basic Income 1 0.3%
Period Transition 1 0.3%
Independents 10 3.3%
Total 300 100.0%

Notes:

  1. Negotiation groups can be formed by 20 or more members.

Political natureEdit

South Korea's political history has always been prone to splits from and merges with other parties. One reason is that there is greater emphasis around the 'politics of the person' and rather than party, therefore party loyalty is not strong when disagreements occur. The graph below illustrates the extent of the political volatility within the last 10 years alone. These splits were intensified after the 2016 South Korean political scandal.

 
This graph traces the recent origins of all six main political parties currently in the Republic of Korea. All of which have either split from or merged with other parties in the last four years. They have emerged from four main ideological camps, from Left to Right: Progressive (socialist), liberal, centrist, and conservative.

Latest electionsEdit

Presidential electionEdit

CandidatePartyVotes%
Moon Jae-inDemocratic Party of Korea13,423,80041.09
Hong Joon-pyoLiberty Korea Party7,852,84924.04
Ahn Cheol-sooPeople's Party6,998,34221.42
Yoo Seong-minBareun Party2,208,7716.76
Sim Sang-jungJustice Party2,017,4586.17
Cho Won-jinSaenuri Party42,9490.13
Kim Min-chanIndependent33,9900.10
Kim Sun-dongPeople's United Party27,2290.08
Chang Sŏng-minGrand National Unity Party21,7090.07
Yoon Hong-sikHongik Party18,5430.06
Lee Kyung-heeKorean Nationalist Party11,3550.03
Lee Jae-ohEvergreen Korea Party9,1400.03
Oh Young-gukEconomic Patriots Party6,0400.02
Total32,672,175100.00
Valid votes32,672,17599.59
Invalid/blank votes135,7330.41
Total votes32,807,908100.00
Registered voters/turnout42,479,71077.23
Source: National Election Commission

Legislative electionEdit

e • d Summary of the 15 April 2020 South Korean National Assembly election results
 
Party Constituency Proportional Total
seats
+/–
Votes % Seats Votes % M C Total
Democratic Party / Platform Party 14,345,425 49.91 163 9,307,112 33.36 6 11 17 180 +57
United Future Party / Future Korea Party 11,915,277 41.45 84 9,441,520 33.84 7 12 19 103 –19
Justice Party 487,519 1.69 1 2,697,956 9.67 2 3 5 6 0
People Party 1,896,719 6.80 1 2 3 3 New
Open Democratic Party 1,512,763 5.42 1 2 3 3 New
Minsaeng Party 415,473 1.44 0 758,778 2.72 0 0 0 0 –38
Christian Liberty Unification Party 7,663 0.02 0 513,159 1.84 0 0 0 0 0
Minjung Party 172,239 0.59 0 295,612 1.06 0 0 0 0 –1
Our Republican Party 47,603 0.16 0 208,719 0.75 0 0 0 0 New
Women's Party 208,697 0.75 0 0 0 0 New
National Revolutionary Dividends Party 208,324 0.72 0 200,657 0.72 0 0 0 0 New
Pro-Park New Party 1,884 0.00 0 142,747 0.51 0 0 0 0 New
Dawn of Liberty 101,819 0.36 0 0 0 0 New
Saenuri Party 269 0.00 0 80,208 0.29 0 0 0 0 0
Future Party 1,574 0.00 0 71,423 0.26 0 0 0 0 New
Future Democratic Party 71,297 0.26 0 0 0 0 New
Green Party Korea 58,948 0.21 0 0 0 0 0
Korea Economic Party 48,807 0.17 0 0 0 0 0
Labor Party 15,752 0.05 0 34,272 0.12 0 0 0 0 0
Let's Go! Korea 34,012 0.12 0 0 0 0 0
Hongik Party 22,583 0.08 0 0 0 0 0
Liberty Party 20,599 0.07 0 0 0 0 New
Small and Medium-sized Self-employed Peoples' Party 19,444 0.07 0 0 0 0 0
Republic of Korea Party 19,246 0.07 0 0 0 0 New
Korean Welfare Party 625 0.00 0 19,159 0.07 0 0 0 0 0
United Democratic Party 512 0.00 0 17,405 0.06 0 0 0 0 0
New People's Participation Party 15,998 0.06 0 0 0 0 New
Awakened Citizens' Solidarity Party 14,242 0.05 0 0 0 0 New
National New Political Party 65 0.00 0 12,376 0.04 0 0 0 0 0
Let's Go! Environmental Party 11,040 0.04 0 0 0 0 New
Future of Chungcheong Province Party 1,148 0.00 0 10,841 0.04 0 0 0 0 0
Inter-Korean Unification Party 10,833 0.04 0 0 0 0 New
Let's Go! Peace and Human Rights Party 9,245 0.03 0 0 0 0 0
Our Party 6,773 0.02 0 0 0 0 New
Greater Korea Party 4,855 0.02 0 0 0 0 0
Basic Income Party 4,658 0.02 0 0
Grand National Party 1,228 0.00 0 0
People's Democratic Party 63 0.00 0 0
Republican Party 57 0.00 0 0
Independents 1,124,167 3.91 5 5 –6
Invalid/blank votes 380,059 1,226,532
Total 29,127,637 100 253 29,126,396 100 17 30 47 300 0
Registered voters/turnout 43,994,247 66.21 43,994,247 66.21
Source: NEC, NEC, Naver

Political pressure groups and leadersEdit

  • Federation of Korean Industries
  • Federation of Korean Trade Unions
  • Korean Confederation of Trade Unions
  • Korean National Council of Churches
  • Korean Traders Association
  • Korean Veterans' Association
  • National Council of Labor Unions
  • National Democratic Alliance of Korea
  • National Federation of Farmers' Associations
  • National Federation of Student Associations

Administrative divisionsEdit

One Special City (Teukbyeolsi, Capital City), six Metropolitan Cities (Gwangyeoksi, singular and plural), nine Provinces (Do, singular and plural) and one Special Autonomous City (Sejong City).

Foreign relationsEdit

South Korea is a member of the AfDB, APEC, AsDB, BIS, CP, EBRD, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IEA (observer), IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, ITUC, MINURSO, NAM (guest), NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE (partner), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMOGIP, UNOMIG, UNU, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, Zangger Committee

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ The Economist Intelligence Unit (8 January 2019). "Democracy Index 2019". Economist Intelligence Unit. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  2. ^ "Japan, South Korea And Taiwan Upgraded To "Full Democracies" In The EIU's 2020 Democracy Index". Scoop News Group. Retrieved 20 March 2021.

    "S. Korea Reclassified as "Full Democracy" on EIU's Global Democracy Index 2020". KBS World. Retrieved 20 March 2021.

  3. ^ "Korea, South". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 30 May 2017.

External linksEdit