Democracy development in South Korea.
The Republic of South Korea was formed in 1948, subsequent to a ruling period of three years by the American military government. Nevertheless, over the next fifteen years, the rulers of the country increasingly applied legal technical to the outcomes of elections. Surprisingly in the year 1958, a law on elections was passed that enacted stringent limits on the process of campaigns inspired by an aggressive era code of Japanese elections (mobrand). The passed law abridged chances for the candidates and other parties from the grassroots to put up political holding. As expected, the enacted law only preferred the two primary political parties, thus pushing other parties and politicians to the sidelines and precincts.
Therefore this exercise of using campaign rules to marginalize political foes was established into the concept of democracy. Consequently, there was the occurrence of a coup in the year 1961; it placed a military junta in, therefore, the pattern in South Korean political design in disruption but just for a temporary period (Woo, 45). However, the civil rule returned after two years under the direction of the previous General Park Chung-Hee. With the civil rule, the majority of the previous constitutional and lawful order in South Korea also returned.
Furthermore, the political parties ACT that was brought in 1963 required the political parties to establish their head offices in Seoul. This was aimed at restricting the parties from connecting with the local areas, and the punitive authority of the country was formed to coerce people to believe that electoral politics and parties’ are supposed to function in a particular restricted manner (Woo, 40). Thus the law entrenched a specific custom on how the area of politics ought to be structured in South Korea.
Another event of the development of democracy is the electoral commission which was introduced in the first election in the year 1948, it was later renamed to central election management commission in 1963, and it served as the primary overseer of democracy in South Korea. However, it turned a blind eye to the issues of fostering values of participation or competition. However, Park launched another coup against his government, and then he unveiled a revised constitution that eliminated the directly elected presidency making him a lifelong president (mobrand). However, later on in the late 1980s, there was a serious dispute over the national security law and figures in the opposition, such as Kim Dae-Jung advocated for it to be overhauled. However, the attempt to abolish the law failed even in the early 2000s.
Therefore democratization was an issue of eradicating the most repressive elements and not rethinking the entire state (Woo, 30). However, the incoming chief of the ruling democratic justice party, Roh Tae-Woo, recommended a reform program that would allow him to take credit for the opening after the revision of the constitution. The constitutional reform was a negotiation between the ruling party and the opposition; however, the grass-root parties that had led protests had been sidelined from the negotiation process.
The development puts South Korea at the frontlines of democracy globally today. In 2013 a candlelight movement took place where the then-president Park was found to have used the authority given by her office to help a friend of hers who had been given inappropriate access to decision making (Turner, Mark, Seung-Ho Kwon, and O’Donnell, 910). After a series of activism and peaceful demonstration by ordinary citizens using candles as a symbol, the courts found the president guilty and stripped her of her powers and ordered a new election. This indicates the milestone advancement that democracy has gone through in South Korea.
Turner, Mark, Seung-Ho Kwon, and Michael O’Donnell. “Making integrity institutions work in South Korea: the role of people power in the impeachment of President Park in 2016.” Asian Survey 58.5 (2018): 898-919.
Woo, Jongseok. “South Korean democratization.” Politics in North and South Korea. Routledge, 2017. 29-48.