The 20th Parliamentary Elections in Korea

General Election (총선) to elect the members of the National Assembly (국회) in South Korea will be held in two weeks, the thirteenth of April. You may have already known it by seeing several campaign posters hanging on streets. Some are red, others are blue or green. Today’s post is about South Korea’s election and voting system.

The Korean government is divided into three branches: legislative, executive, and judiciary. The presidential term is 5 years and there is no re-election. For lawmakers, it is 4 years and they can be re-elected. Elections citizens can participate in include those electing the president, members of national assembly and local government body, so on. South Korea’s voting system is a direct voting, so citizens’ votes directly determine who will be the president and mayor. In order to be qualified for votes, a person must be a South Korean citizen over 19 years old. The quadrennial election which is going to take place on this April 13 is a parliamentary election which elects new members of the National Assembly.

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The National Assembly located in Yeouido, Source: http://www.nationalassembly.go.kr

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The National Flag of ROK and the old and new symbols of the Government, Source: Yonhap News

The National Assembly of South Korea is made up of overall 300 lawmakers. Next Wednesday’s election elects 253 of lawmakers through direct voting, representing each region, and the remaining 47 proportional representation seats which will be allocated to parties according to the percentage of votes. Several names of the parties are Saenuri (새누리), The Minjoo (더민주당), and The People’s Party (국민의당). Saenuri (새누리당) is currently the majority party.

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Candidates of Saenuri, The Minjoo, The People’s Party (From left to right), Source: koreanjoongangdaily.joins.com

The official campaign period kicked off last Thursday, April 1, and will continue until the day of election. The voting hours start from 6am to 6pm on Wednesday. Citizens can visit a designated voting place in their region. Since the government introduced the early vote system in 2013, people who are not able to vote on the day of election can attend election earlier. This year, the early voting period lasts for two days from Friday, April 8th to Saturday. Also, two weeks prior to the domestic election, those residing overseas can vote in countries they are currently staying as long as they are registered as South Korean citizens.

According to a poll done by the JoongAng newspaper (중앙일보) and KyungHee University (경희대학교), the top three qualities citizens expect from candidates are reported to be dignity, sympathy, and a desire to defend the national interest. The most highly valued of these, dignity, includes features such as speaking responsibly, displaying tolerance and acknowledging the public’s recent allegations of corruption in the 19th National Assembly.

 The national election watchdog said more than 42 million South Koreans at home and abroad will be eligible to vote in the upcoming general elections. It is also expected for university students to give their vote and show the power of the young people by participating on the nation’s political decision.

If you are considering visiting the National Assembly and the presidential residence, Cheong Wa Dae (청와대), tours are available.

The National Assembly: http://korea.assembly.go.kr/com/guide_01.jsp

The Blue House: http://english1.president.go.kr/tours/information.php

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A night view of the National Assembly, Source: National Assembly

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Cheong Wa Dae, also called the Blue House because the color of the roof, Source: http://www1.president.go.kr/cheongwadae/introduction/gallery.php?srh%5Bview_mode%5D=detail&srh%5Bseq%5D=14541

 

Article by Sangeun from Korea, a Junior in Business Administration

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