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Legislature

The National Assembly
Legislative power is vested in the National Assembly, a unicameral legislature. The Assembly is composed of 299 members serving four-year terms.

Out of 299 members, 245 are elected by popular vote from local constituencies, while the remaining 54 members obtain their seats through a proportional representation system in which seats are allocated to each political party that has gained 3 percent or more of all valid votes or five or more seats in the local constituency election. The system is aimed at reflecting the voices of people from different walks of life while enhancing the expertise of the Assembly.

To be eligible for election, a candidate must be at least 25 years of age. One candidate from each electoral district is selected by majority vote.

An Assembly member is not held responsible outside the Assembly for any opinions expressed or votes cast in the legislative chamber. During a session of the Assembly, no Assembly member may be arrested or detained without consent of the Assembly except in the case of a flagrant criminal act.

In case of apprehension or detention of an Assembly member prior to the opening of a session, the member must be released during the session upon the request of the Assembly.

Two types of legislative sessions are provided for, regular and special. The regular session is convened once a year from September through December and special sessions may be convened upon the request of the President or one-fourth or more of the members of the Assembly. The period of a regular session is limited to 100 days and to 30 days for special sessions. If the President requests the convening of a special session, he must clearly specify the period of the session and the reasons for the request.

Except as otherwise provided in the Constitution or law, the attendance of more than one half of the entire Assembly members, and the concurrent vote of more than one half of the Assembly members present, are necessary to make the decisions of the National Assembly binding. In the case of a tie vote, the matter is considered to be rejected by the Assembly. Legislative meetings are open to the public, but this rule may be waived with the approval of more than one half of the members present or when the Speaker deems it necessary to do so in the interest of national security.

The National Assembly is vested with a number of functions under the Constitution, the foremost of which is making laws. Other functions of the Assembly include approval of the national budget, matters related to foreign policy, declaration of war, and the stationing of Korean troops abroad or of foreign forces within the country, inspecting or investigating specific matters of state affairs and impeachment.

An impeachment motion against an appointed official can come to a vote if approved by at least one third of the Assembly. The impeachment passes if it receives the backing of a majority of the Assembly members. A motion of impeachment against the President requires a majority vote from the Assembly to proceed. The motion passes only if two-thirds or more of the entire Assembly approves.

The Assembly elects one Speaker and two Vice Speakers, who serve for two-year terms. The Speaker presides over plenary sessions and represents the legislature while supervising its administration. In the absence of the Speaker, the Vice Speakers shall act for the Speaker.

 
 

  General Information of Korea  
   Facts and Figures of Korea
· Country Name : Republic of Korea · Capital City : Seoul (10.1 million) · National flag : Taegeukgi · National flower : Mugunghwa (Rose of Sharon) · Currency : won · Language : Korean (Written form: Hangeul) · Location : Strategically located at the crossroads of …
   Geography
Korea is situated on the Korean Peninsula, which spans 1,100 kilometers north to south. The Korean Peninsula lies on the northeastern section of the Asian continent, where Korean waters are joined by the western-most parts of the Pacific. The peninsula shares its northern border with China and Russia. To the east is the East Sea, beyond which neighboring Japan lies. To the west is the Yellow Sea. In addition to the mainland, Korea includes some 3,200 i…
   Climate
Korea has four distinct seasons. Spring and autumn are rather short, summer is hot and humid, and winter is cold and dry with abundant snowfall, especially in the mountainous regions, but not along the southern coast. Temperatures differ widely from region to region within Korea, with the average being between 6°C (43°F) and 16°C (61°F). In early spring, Siberian winds pick up "yellow dust" from thawin…
   Population
As of the end of 2007, South Korea's total population was estimated to be 48,456,369 with a density of 498 people per square kilometer. The population of North Korea was estimated to be 23,200,238. Korea saw its population grow by an annual rate of 3 percent during the 1960s, but growth slowed to 2 percent over the next decade. In 2005, the rate stood at 0.21 percent and is expected to further decline to 0.02 percent by 2020. In the 19…
   Language
All Koreans speak and write the same language, which has been a decisive factor in forging their strong national identity. Korean has several different dialects in addition to the standard variety used in Seoul. Only the dialect of Jeju-do Province, however, is so different that it is difficult for others to understand. Linguistic and ethnological studies have classified the Korean language in the Altaic language family, which includes the T…
   National Symbols
National Flag The Korean flag is called Taegeukgi. Its design symbolizes the principles of the yin and yang in Asian philosophy. The circle in the center of the flag is divided into two equal parts. The upper red section represents the proactive cosmic forces of the yang. Conversely, the lower blue section represents the responsive cosmic forces of the yin. The two forces embody the concepts of continual movement, balance, and harmony that characteriz…
   Constitution

manuscript of the first Constitution of the Republic of Korea On July 17, 1948, the first Constitution of the Republic of Korea was adopted. As the nation underwent political upheavals in pursuit of democratic development, the Korean Constitution has been amended nine times, the last time on October 29, 1987. The current Constitution represents a major advancement in the direction of full democratization. Apart from a legitimate process of revision, a number of substantive changes are notable. They include the curtailment of presidential powers, the strengthening of the power of the legi…

   Executive Branch
The President Cheongwadae (Office of the President) The President of the Republic of Korea, elected by nationwide, equal, direct and secret ballot, stands at the apex of the executive branch. The President serves a single five-year term, with no additional terms being allowed. This single-term provision is a safeguard for preventing any individual from holding the reins of government power for a protracted period of time. In the event of…
   Legislature

The National Assembly Legislative power is vested in the National Assembly, a unicameral legislature. The Assembly is composed of 299 members serving four-year terms. Out of 299 members, 245 are elected by popular vote from local constituencies, while the remaining 54 members obtain their seats through a proportional representation system in which seats are allocated to each political party that has gained 3 percent or more of all valid votes or five or more seats in the local constituency election. The system is aimed at reflecting the voices of people from different walks of life whil…

   Judiciary

The Supreme Court The Judiciary of Korea consists of the Supreme Court, High Courts, District Courts, Patent Court, Family Court, Administrative and Local Courts. The courts exercise jurisdiction over civil, criminal, administrative, electoral, and other judicial matters, while also overseeing affairs related to real estate registrations, family registrations, financial holdings, and court officials. The Supreme Court is the highest judicial tribunal. It hears appeals on cases rendered by lower courts. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is appointed by the President with the consent …

   Independent Organizations
The Constitutional Court The Constitutional Court The Constitutional Court was established in September 1988 as a key part of the constitutional system. The Constitution of the Sixth Republic, based on the Korean people's deep enthusiasm for democracy, adopted a new judicial review system ― the Constitutional Court ― to safeguard the Constitution and to protect the people's basic rights by establishing special procedures for …
   Local Government
Seoul Plaza in front of City Hall The Constitution of the Republic of Korea states in Article 117 that "Local governments deal with matters pertaining to the welfare of local residents, manage properties and may, within the limit of laws, enact provisions relating to local autonomy regulations." Local government heads manage and supervise administrative affairs except as otherwise provided by law. The local…
   Organization Chart
Korean Government Organization Chart
   Presidency

The President is the head of state and represents the state in international affairs. The President is also the head of the executive branch, and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. In case of the President's death or disability, the Prime Minister will temporarily act as the President according to an order of succession provided by law. The President is elected for a single five-year term by popular vote through universal, equal, direct, secret balloting. The power and duties of the President are defined in the following six areas. First, the President, as head of state…

   Presidents of the ROK
Presidents of the ROK 1st, 2nd and 3rd President (1948 - 1960) 4th President (1960 - 1962) 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th President (1963 - 1979) 10th President (1979 - 1980) Chun Doo-hwan 11th, 12th President (1980 - 1988) Roh Tae-woo 13th President (1988 - 1993) Kim Young-sam 14th Pr…
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