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Politics of South Korea

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Politics of South Korea

Politics of the Republic of Korea takes place in the framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President is the head of state, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. 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.


Map of South Korea

Executive branch

The head of state is the president, who is elected by direct popular vote for a single five-year term. The president is Commander-in-Chief of the armed force of South Korea 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 first president to be removed by the Constitutional Court after impeachment by the National Assembly. Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn is temporarily serving as an acting president since the suspension of Park since 9 December 2016 until the next presidential election, which will be held in May 2017.

Legislative branch

The National Assembly (국회, 國會, gukhoe) has 300 members, elected for a four-year term, 244 members in single-seat constituencies and 56 members by proportional representation.

Judicial branch

The South Korean judiciary is independent of the other two branches. The highest 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 elections

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, 246 members in single-seat constituencies and 54 members by proportional representation.

The main political parties in South Korea are the Saenuri Party (lit. "New Frontier Party", SP/NFP), the Democratic Party of Korea (lit. "Together Democratic Party", DPK), the centrist People's Party, and the left-wing Justice Party. The conservative Saenuri Party and the more liberal Democratic Party are the dominant forces of South Korean politics.

Latest elections

Seat changes are compared to previous election, not the outgoing Assembly
1 Comparison based on 2012 Democratic United Party result
2 Comparison includes members elected in 2012 for the Liberty Forward Party
3 Comparison based on 2012 Unified Progressive Party result
4 Non-parliamentary grouping: not to be confused with the larger Minjoo Party of Korea, more usually referred to as the Minjoo Party

Political pressure groups and leaders

  • 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 divisions

    (Main article: Administrative divisions of South Korea. For historical information, see Provinces of Korea and Special cities of Korea)

    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).

  • Seoul Teukbyeolsi (서울특별시)
  • Busan Gwangyeoksi (부산광역시)
  • Daegu Gwangyeoksi (대구광역시)
  • Incheon Gwangyeoksi (인천광역시)
  • Daejeon Gwangyeoksi (대전광역시)
  • Gwangju Gwangyeoksi (광주광역시)
  • Ulsan Gwangyeoksi (울산광역시)
  • Gyeonggi-do (경기도)
  • Gangwon-do (강원도)
  • Chungcheongbuk-do (충청북도)
  • Chungcheongnam-do (충청남도)
  • Jeollabuk-do (전라북도)
  • Jeollanam-do (전라남도)
  • Gyeongsangbuk-do (경상북도)
  • Gyeongsangnam-do (경상남도)
  • Jeju Teukbyeoljachi-do (제주특별자치도)
  • Sejong Teukbyeol-jachisi (세종특별자치시)
  • International organization participation

    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


    Politics of South Korea Wikipedia

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