Political System of South Korea

The political system of South Korea is based on a Republic form of government with the President as Chief of the State and Prime Minister as the Head of Government. Powers of the government is shared between the executive, legislature and judiciary. The Cabinet comprises of a council of ministers who are appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. The political system of South Korea continues to suffer from the aftermath of several years authoritarian rule.

The Executive

The executive is headed by the President, followed by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. The President is the Head of State who is elected by popular vote for a single term of five years. The Prime Minister is the Head of Government who is appointed by the President with the approval of the National Assembly. The Deputy Prime Ministers are also appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. The Cabinet consists of the State Council who is appointed by the President on the Prime Minister's advice of the Prime Minister. Executive functions are performed by the President while the Prime Minister's responsibilities involve supervision of administrative functions of the ministries. The function of the Cabinet members is to act on policy matters and is accountable to the President.

The present President of South Korea is Roh Moo-hyun and the Present Prime Minister is Han Duck-soo. The current three Deputy Prime Ministers of South Korea are Kim Woo-sik, Kwon o-kyu and Kim Shin-il.

The Legislature

The legislative branch consists of the unicameral National Assembly, the members of which are elected for a four-year term. There are 299 members in the National Assembly of which 243 members are in single seat constituencies and 56 are elected by proportional representation. The last National Assembly elections were held 15 April, 2004.


The judiciary in South Korea is independent of the Executive and the Legislature. The judiciary is made up of the three courts- Supreme Court, appellate Court and the Constitutional Courts. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the judiciary and the justices of which are appointed by the President on the approval of the National Assembly. The Constitutional Court justices are appointed by the President partly based on the nominations by the Chief Justice and National Assembly.

Major political parties of South Korea are-

  • Democratic Labor Party or DLP
  • Democratic Party or DP
  • Grand National Party or GNP
  • People-First Party
  • Uri Party

Other key ministers of South Korea are-

  • Industry, commerce, and energy : Kim Young-joo
  • Defense Minister : Kim Jang-soo
  • Foreign affairs and trade Minister : Song Min-soon
  • Labor Minister : Lee Sang-soo
  • Health and welfare Minister : Rhyu Si-min
  • Construction and Transportation : Lee Yong-sup
  • Government administration and home affairs : Park Myung-jae
  • Information and communications : Rho Jun-hyong
  • Minister of Justice : Kim Sung-ho
  • Planning and budget Minister : Chang Byoung-wan
  • Unification Minister : Lee Jae-joung


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