Friday, December 9, 2005

Electoral Politics in South Korea (Part I)

The original article was written by Aurel Croissant available from the Friedrich Edert Foundation. This series is contributed by Ruth.

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.

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