• The politics of South Korea (officially the Republic of Korea) function in the structure of a presidential representative democratic republic, in which the President serves as head of state,
and of a multi-party system.
• The government exercises executive power.
• Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly.
• The Judiciary, independent of both the executive and the legislature, includes a Supreme Court, appellate courts, and a Constitutional Court.
• The constitution has been revised five times since 1948; each change indicated a new republic.
• The current Sixth Republic started with the last significant constitutional amendment in 1987.
MAJOR LEADERS OF SOUTH KOREA
Major leaders of South Korea
• Government Unitary presidential constitutional republic
• President Park Geun-hye
• Prime Minister Jung Hong-won
• Legislature National Assembly
National Assembly of South Korea
Main office holders
• Office: President
• Name: Park Geun-hye
• Party: Saenuri Party
• Since: 25 February 2013
• Office: Prime Minister
• Name: Jung Hong-won
• Party: Saenuri Party
• Since: 26 February 2013
Powers of the government
• The President, elected by direct popular vote for one five-year term, acts as head of
• The President also acts as Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of Korea Armed Forces
and enjoys access to substantial executive authority.
• With approval from the National Assembly, the President nominates the PM; the
President also has the power to nominate and supervise the State Council of chief
ministers as the head of government.
• On 12 March 2004, then President Roh Moo-hyun’s executive power was suspended
when the Assembly voted in favor of impeaching him, making then PM Goh Kun acting
• On 14 May 2004, the Constitutional Court rejected the impeachment move made by
the Assembly, and Roh was reinstated as President.
• The National Assembly (국회, 國會, gukhoe) consists of 300 members who are elected
for a four-year term; 244 members are elected in single-seat constituencies, whereas
fifty-six are elected through proportional representation.
National Assembly of South Korea
• The Judiciary of South Korea functions independently from the other two branches.
• The Supreme Court, whose justices are nominated by the President with the National
Assembly’s permission, is the most supreme judiciary body.
• The Constitutional Court additionally supervises questions of constitutionality.
• South Korea has not agreed to necessary ICJ jurisdiction.
Constitutional Court of Korea
• Saenuri Party (NFP - New Frontier Party, 새누리당 / 새누리黨, Saenuridang)
• New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD, 새정치민주연합/ 새政治民主聯合,
Saejeongchi Minju Yeonhap)
• Unified Progressive Party (UPP, 통합진보당 / 統合進步黨, Tonghap Jinbodang)
• Justice Party (정의당 / 正義黨, Jeongeuidang)
Extra parliamentary parties
• Green Party Korea
• Labor Party
• The People Party for New Politics
• The Grand National Party
• Anti-imperialist National Democratic Front
RESULTS OF THE SOUTH KOREAN 2012 LEGISLATIVE ELECTION
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
• South Korea’s administrative divisions (shown in the map, right) include one special city
(Teukbyeolsi, Capital City), six metropolitan cities (Gwangyeoksi, singular and plural),
nine provinces (Do, singular and plural), and one special self-governing city (Sejong
Administrative Divisions map
• Born 2 February 1952 in Taegu.
• Eleventh and current President of South Korea since 25 February 2013.
• First woman to be elected as South Korea’s President, and also first female head of state in the modern
history of Northeastern Asia; is serving the eighteenth presidential term.
• Served as chairwoman of the conservative Grand National Party (GNP) from 2004-2006 and again from 2011-
2012 (the GNP changed its name to Saenuri Party in February 2012) prior to being elected as president.
• Previously served in the National Assembly; served four consecutive parliamentary terms as an electorate
representative for fourteen years (1998-2012), and began her fifth term as a proportional representative
from June 2012.
• Her father, Park Chung-hee, served as President of South Korea for sixteen years (1963-1979).
• Usually seen as one of South Korea’s most prominent politicians since the presidencies of the two Kims: Kim
Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung.
• Was named the world’s 11th most influential woman and the most influential woman in Eastern Asia by
Forbes Magazine’s List of the 100 Most Powerful Women; was also named the world’s 52nd most influential
person by Forbes Magazine’s List of the World’s Most Powerful People, the fourth highest among Koreans
after UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, business industrialist and Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-hee,
and Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un.
• Born 9 October 1944 in Kato County, Korea (now Hadong County, South Korea).
• PM of South Korea since 26 February 2013, but announced his resignation on 27 April 2014.
• Graduated Bachelor of Laws (undergraduate) from Sungkyunkwan University; became a prosecutor after passing the Judicial
• Became recognized after resolving a number of high-profile cases, including the Lee-Chang scandal (이철희·장영자 어음
사기사건), where President Chun Doo-hwan’s relatives were put on trial.
• Left his position as a prosecuting attorney in 2003, and later served as the President of the Institute of Justice.
• Served as the Standing Commissioner of the Republic of Korea National Election Commission from 2004-2006; also later
served as the President of Korea Legal Aid Corporation from 2008-2011.
• Became a member of the Saenuri Party prior to the 2012 general election.
• Was appointed the first PM president-elect of President Park Geun-hye’s government on 8 February 2013; was officially
sworn in after South Korea’s National Assembly confirmed his appointment on 26 February 2013.
• Offered his resignation on 27 April 2014 after the MV Sewol sunk on 16 April 2014, as a result of which 200 people died.
• President Park theoretically accepted his resignation, but Jung will remain head of Cabinet before the search and rescue
missions for the Sewol will end.