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Politics of South Korea

Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Korea
conventional short form: South Korea
local long form: Daehanminguk
local short form: Han-guk
note: the South Koreans generally use the term "Han-guk" to refer to their country
abbreviation: ROK

Data code: KS

Government type: republic

Capital: Seoul

Administrative divisions: 9 provinces (do, singular and plural) and 6 metropolitan cities* (gwangyeoksi, singular and plural); Jeju-do, Jeollabuk-do, Jeollanam-do, Chungcheongbuk-do, Chungcheongnam-do, Incheon-gwangyeoksi*, Gangwon-do, Gwangju-gwangyeoksi*, Gyeonggi-do, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Gyeongsangnam-do, Busan-gwangyeoksi*, Seoul-teukbyeolsi*, Daegu-gwangyeoksi*, Daejeon-gwangyeoksi*

Independence: 15 August 1945, date of liberation from Japanese colonial rule

National holiday: Liberation Day, 15 August (1945)

Constitution: 25 February 1988

Legal system: combines elements of continental European civil law systems, Anglo-American law, and Chinese classical thought

Suffrage: 20 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President ROH Moo-hyun (since February 2003)
head of government: Prime Minister CHANG Dae-whan (since 9 August 2002)
cabinet: State Council appointed by the president on the prime minister's recommendation
elections: president elected by popular vote for a single five-year term; election last held 18 December 1997 (next to be held by 18 December 2002); prime minister appointed by the president; deputy prime ministers appointed by the president on the prime minister's recommendation
election results: KIM Dae-jung elected president; percent of vote - KIM Dae-jung (NCNP) 40.3% (with ULD partnership), LEE Hoi-chang (GNP) 38.7%, RHEE In-je (NPP) 19.2%

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Gukhoe (273 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 13 April 2000
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - GNP 133, MDP 115, ULD 17, DPP 2, KNP 1, independents 5; note - the distribution of seats as of August 2002 was as follows: GNP 139, MDP 113, ULD 14, DPP 1, KCF 1, independents 4

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, justices are appointed by the president subject to the consent of the National Assembly

Political parties and leaders: Grand National Party or GNP [LEE Hoi-chang, president]; Millennium Democratic Party or MDP [KIM Dae-jung, president]; United Liberal Democrats or ULD [KIM Jong-pil, honorary chairman]
note: subsequent to the legislative election of April 1996 the following parties disbanded - New Korea Party or NKP and Democratic Party or DP; on 20 January 2000, the National Congress for New Politics or NCNP was renamed the Millennium Democratic Party or MDP

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

International organization participation: AfDB, APEC, AsDB, BIS, CCC, CP, EBRD, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA (observer), IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MINURSO, NAM (guest), NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE (partner), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMOGIP, UNOMIG, UNU, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, Zangger Committee

Flag description: white with a red (top) and blue yin-yang symbol in the center; there is a different black trigram from the ancient I Ching (Book of Changes) in each corner of the white field

See also : South Korea



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