South Korea flag South Korea: Economic and Political Overview

The political framework of South Korea

Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Yoon Suk Yeol (since 10 May 2022)
Next Election Dates
Legislative: April 10, 2024
Presidential: 2027
Current Political Context
The Korean peninsula remains one of the most protracted and volatile conflict zones in the world. Ex-President Moon Jae-in has pushed the denuclearization and the 'peace economy' concept as the cornerstones of its North Korea policy. In its five-year plan, the government was working to lay the foundations for economic unification by restarting inter-Korean cooperation and seeking a single market for Seoul and Pyongyang. The purpose is to achieve peace and unification by 2045. Under the previous administration, Seoul has undertaken its first unified diplomatic initiative aimed at advancing ties with India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). This policy is an extension of South Korea’s need to diversify its economic and strategic relationships amid the uncertainty posed by competition between its closest ally, the United States, and its largest trading partner, China. By elevating ties with India and Southeast Asia, particularly in the economic realm, Seoul hopes to insulate itself from the risks posed by trade and strategic friction between the two great powers.
Under the newly elected President Yoon Suk-yeol (former Prosecutor General), South Korea is adapting to a rapidly changing geopolitical environment by seeking to elevate its international profile and improve relations with key allies. But sustaining this important strategic shift will require its deeper institutionalization, both at home and in the U.S. and Japan. More broadly, South Korea also will need to strengthen its participation in multilateral institutions and networks, so that it can work with other countries to provide international public goods, mitigate supply-chain problems, and address other global issues.
In June 2023, the Yoon Suk-yeol administration of South Korea unveiled its National Security Strategy (NSS). The strategy vows to transform Korea into a "global pivotal state," actively defending liberal democracy and fostering global prosperity. It further solidifies the Yoon administration's strategic realignment with longstanding allies and partners like the United States and Australia, especially amidst ongoing North Korean missile tests and diplomatic strains with China.
Main Political Parties
The most influential parties in South Korea include:

- Democratic (Minjo) Party: centrist-liberal political party, advocating for human rights, improved relations with North Korea, and a "new progressivism" economic policy
- People Power Party or PPP (formerly Liberty Korea Party): right-wing, conservative, currently the  second-largest party in the National Assembly
- Justice Party: centre-left; organised around progressivism
- Green Party: founded in 2012, champions ecological wisdom, social justice.
Other parties include the Basic Income Party (BIP), the Progressive Party (Minjung), and the New Reform Party (NRP).

Executive Power
The President is the chief of the state, head of the Government and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. He or she is elected by a popular vote for a single five-year term. The President enjoys executive powers and appoints both the Prime Minister and the State Council (cabinet) with the consent of the parliament. The Prime Minister is not required to be a member of parliament and his or her main role is to assist the President.
Legislative Power
The legislature in South Korea is unicameral. The Parliament, called the National Assembly, has 300 statutory seats distributed among parties in proportion to their share of the vote. Each member is elected to serve four-year terms. The executive branch of the government is directly or indirectly dependent on the support of the National Assembly, often expressed through a vote of confidence.
 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
42/180
 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Free
Political Freedom:
2/7

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

Return to top

Any Comment About This Content? Report It to Us.

 

© eexpand, All Rights Reserved.
Latest Update: June 2024

Return to top