Legislative power / political party in South Korea
- Vested in the National Assembly (composed of 299 members serving four-year terms). Every four years, 243 members are elected by popular vote, while the remaining 56 seats allotted to each political party that has obtained 3% or more of the total valid votes or five or more seats in the local constituency election.
- To be eligible for election, a candidate must be at least 25 years old. One candidate from each electoral district is elected by a plurality (the next general elections are due in 2008).
- Functions of the National Assembly : making laws, deliberation and approval of the annual budget, audits of the administration, matters related to foreign relations, declaration of war, the dispatch of armed forces abroad and impeachment.
- South Korea has a multi-party system, with numerous parties in which parties have a chance of gaining power alone.
Electoral development in South Korea
- A long history of elections.
- Until 1987, the electoral system was used by the ruling elites as a tool to stabilize their power and not as a technical means to realize the democratic principles embedded in the electoral process.
- When democratization led to political change in the late 1980s, electoral reform was a major step in the process of the institutionalization of the democratic regime.