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Development Overview

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Overview of Korea’s development experience

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Development Overview
Government and Law Governance

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Governance

Local government: Phase 4

1. Institutional Guarantees of Local Government and Administration
 
(1) Constitutional Guarantees of Local Government and Administration
The LGA underwent a major amendment in 1988 according to the constitutional amendment of 1987. The year 1988 marked a pivotal moment in Korean political history, a time when the constitutionally enshrined principles of local government and administration finally began to be realized.
 
(2) Statutory Guarantees of Local Government and Administration
The amended LGA of 1990 postponed the date for local council elections by one year until June 1991. The local elections of 1991 thus marked the resurrection of local government and politics after three decades. The LGA underwent other major changes in subsequent years as well (in 1991, 1994, 1995, 1999, and 2005).
Two presidential decrees introduced in 1991, namely, the Rules on the Administrative Structure and Personnel of Local Government Organizations, and the Rules of Organization for the Special City of Seoul and its Organizations, outlined the types of local government organizations to be established and the personnel required. These decrees abolished the Rules on the Administrative Bodies of the Provinces and Directly Governed Cities (1981), as well as the Rules on the Administrative Bodies of the Special City of Seoul (1973).
The Rules on the Administrative Structure and Personnel of Local Government Organizations underwent a major overhaul in 1994 in anticipation of the local elections to be held in 1995. This included the merging of the Rules on the Administrative Bodies of the Provinces and Directly Governed Cities (1991) and the Rules of Organization for the Special City of Seoul and its Organizations (1991) with the Rules on the Administrative Structure. The Rules on the Administrative Structure underwent 43 amendments from the time of it original enactment in 1994, thus providing the institutional framework for implementation of the LGA and operation of local government and administration.

Source: Korea Institute of Public Administration. 2008. Korean Public Administration, 1948-2008, Edited by Korea Institute of Public Administration. Pajubookcity: Bobmunsa.

  ##PAGE## 2. Main Terms of Institutional Guarantees and their Evolution
 
(1) Constitutional Terms of Guarantees for Local Government and Administration
There is not much constitutional change to speak of in relation to this period, as the constitutional provisions for local government and administration from 1987 were preserved more or less intact. The social debate on administrative reform and decentralization that began to arise in 2003, however, could not bear meaningful solutions and changes due to constitutional restraints on decentralization.
                  Main examples include the frustrated attempts to create the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, and to endow local councils with greater legislative autonomy. Constitutional controversies surfaced over the legislative scope of local councils and the extent of their tax autonomy, etc.
 
(2) Statutory Terms of Guarantees for Local Government and Administration
Local government and administration experienced significant transformation following the complete amendment of the LGA in 1988, the basic district local council elections held in March 1991, and the metropolitan local council elections held in June 1991, which together led to the successful formation of elected local councils.[1] The amendment of the LGA and the Rules on the Administrative Structure, in particular, dramatically progressed local government and administration. The mounting anticipation for increasing decentralization and devolution of power from the central government led to great strides and improvements in how local politics and administration were practiced.
 
1) Amendment of the LGA
A new era of local government dawned when the Constitutional Court of Korea handed down its decision, on May 3, 1991, declaring the legislation prohibiting local council members from working in agricultural, fishery, and dairy farming cooperatives and other such industries as unconstitutional. This change led to a major overhaul of the LGA.
As local councils were formed and began their legislative activities, the central government also began to devise and implement more systemic measures to facilitate and support these local activities. First, a number of institutional reforms were implemented in an effort to improve the efficiency of local legislative activities. The amendment of the LGA in December 1991 included a new provision providing travel and other duty-related expenses for local council members, while extending the number of regular days from 30 to 35 for metropolitan councils. Moreover, the first days on which metropolitan and basic district councils could convene their sessions were changed to November 20 and November 25, respectively, from December 1. The amended LGA also provided a basis upon which basic district councils could organize standing committees. In an effort to strengthen support for the administrative and office tasks of local councils, the office affairs bureaus of metropolitan councils were expanded into secretariats, and the administrators of basic district councils elevated to the position of head of either the Office Affairs Bureau or the Office Affairs Division. Furthermore, the deadline for submitting budgets was changed to 35 days prior to the start of the next fiscal year from 30 days prior to improve the quality of budget review and deliberation. The deadline for decision making similarly changed from 10 days prior to implementation to 10 days prior for metropolitan councils, and from 5 days prior to 10 days prior for basic district councils.
The amendment of the LGA in March 1994 addressed the shortcomings of the amendment of 1991 in relation to local councils, and also prepared for the elections of the local government heads that were scheduled to take place in 1995. The new amendment also sought to narrow the urban-rural development gap by providing the basis for the creation of urban-rural towns. Moreover, the newly amended legislation provided for public referenda on questions of local government or administration that could affect locals’ lives in major ways, such as the abolition or merger of local government organizations. The amended LGA also included new bases for providing increased financial support for local council members in addition to providing for their travel and other duty-related expenses, introducing new accounts and types of main and supplementary expenses to be spent on policy and legislative research and other related activities.[2]
In addition, the amended LGA included provisions introducing the position of Vice Chief into local elections and those reinforcing the central government’s control and supervision of local government organizations. Under the new LGA, each metropolitan government was to have two vice chiefs,[3] one of whom was to be a local government employee in political service appointed by the chief of the metropolitan government, and the other a central government employee to be nominated by the Minister of Home Affairs and appointed by the President.[4] In order to ensure that the elected head of each local government dutifully performed tasks delegated by the state, cities and counties, and provinces, the LGA granted authority to “the Minister of the responsible ministry or department, the Mayor, or the Governor of the respective city or province to issue a warning to the head of a local government found to be neglecting his/her duties, and to seek out remedial measures, such as execution by proxy or other administrative or financial sanctions, should the head of the local government fail to fulfill his/her duties despite the warning.” Moreover, the LGA allowed for “the head of each local government organization to contest the legality of decisions made by his/her respective local council before the Supreme Court of Korea and request for the suspension of the execution of such decisions. Should the head of the local government fail to take judicial measures against such local council decisions, the Minister of Home Affairs, the Mayor of the given city, or the Governor of the given province may pursue such measures against either the head of the government or the local council concerned, and/or request for a suspension of execution of the given local council’s decision him/herself.”
Amendments to the LGA in December 1994 were made in preparation for the local elections of 1995. The new provisions included limits on the number of subsequent terms each local government head could serve (three terms); the requirement of three deputy mayors for the Special City of Seoul; the re-naming of “Directly Governed Cities” to “Metropolitan Cities”; and the inclusion of counties within “Metropolitan Cities” to reinforce the competitiveness of local administration.
A wave of deregulation began to sweep across Korea, expanding and enlarging the scope of power and authority of local government heads. It was no longer necessary for local government heads to nominate central government employees at or below the Grade 6 level for appointment to the local level by the responsible minister; now local government heads could appoint civil servants either on their own, or by nomination for final appointment by the President. In particular, the LGA in January 1995 fixed the rule so that respective local government heads could nominate central government employees for official appointment by the President. Moreover, local government bodies formerly required ordinances and the approval of the Minister of Home Affairs; now such bodies could be created according to presidential decrees.
The amended LGA of August 1999 represented a significant improvement upon the previous versions which, despite having the effects of re-launching local councils in 1991 and organizing local government elections in 1995, were nonetheless found wanting in certain respects. New provisions were added to the LGA in 1999 to promote the public’s direct participation in local government systems, revitalize local councils and their activities, prevent administrative vacuums in the absence of local government heads, reinforce the role and function of local government dispute settlement bodies, and systematize the channel through which local governments could make proposals to the central government.
A number of new measures were introduced to encourage the public’s direct participation in local government, including the introduction of popular ordinances and of systems for requesting the repeal or adoption of certain bills and for audits and inspections. To promote the efficient operation of local councils and their legislative activities, local councils were now required to convene at least two regular meetings a year and their standing committees were given the right to propose legislative bills. In the event a local government head was incarcerated, hospitalized for 60 consecutive days, or running for other offices, the immediate subordinate Vice Chief was to serve as the acting head during the absence.[5]
The Local Government Dispute Mediation Committee, formed mainly for the purposes of review and deliberation at first, was given new authority to make binding decisions. And if a situation called for expedient resolution of a dispute so as to prevent or minimize serious losses to public interests, the Minister of Government Administration and Home Affairs, or the Mayor or Governor of the given city or province could now intervene in the dispute as per their own initiative, without a request from the parties involved. Moreover, the heads of local governments and councils were granted new authority to organize consultative meetings and make proposals to the central government.
The system of popular local referenda was introduced in January 2004, with the goal of promoting the democratic nature and accountability of local administrations. The Residents Voting Act enumerated examples of major public issues on which referenda could be held, defining the subject matters, conditions, and procedures for organizing such referenda.
As more and more people continued to flow into big cities, the scope of public services handled by such cities naturally widened. A new system was thus introduced in January 2004 to recognize certain large cities with a population of 500,000 or more each as “special cases” entitled to special administrative, fiscal, monitoring, and supervisory treatment and support from the central government.
Beginning in January 2005, citizens could now bring lawsuits against local government organizations and leaders for illegal acts committed in finance and accounting. The restrictions on the number of regular and temporary meetings to be held by local councils were also lifted so as to promote local policymaking activities. In the case a local government head refused to accept an order for reconsidering policy decisions, the responsible Cabinet minister, Mayor of the given city, or Governor of the given province could now bring lawsuits against such officials before the Supreme Court.
The amendment of the LGA in August 2005 sought to solve controversial issues on the proper status of local councils once and for all. The newly amended legislation now provided for monthly fixed allowances for local council members, with the amounts of such allowances decided according to local ordinances and reviews undertaken by the Legislative Expenses Committee of each local council. Under the new LGA, the Vice Chief was required to serve as the acting head of a local government in the case the official head had become a preliminary or official candidate for another office, a role to be held by the Vice Chief until elections were held.
The introduction of the Senior Executive Service System (SESS) in December 2005 enabled the central government to better manage senior central government employees working at local government organizations. The amendment of the LGA in January 2006 officially endorsed the creation of the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province. The amendment of the Special Act on the Creation of the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province and International Free City entitled the island of Jeju to a variety of privileges which other cities and provinces were ineligible to receive.
With the status of local councils elevated based on the introduction of monthly fixed allowances for council members and other measures, the LGA was once again amended in April 2006 to require local governments to draft and enact ordinances imposing codes of ethics and conduct on their members. Local governments were also required to determine the total number of days for which local council meetings could be held each year, as well as the number of regular and temporary meetings to be held each year, by ordinances. Expert council members were also appointed to advise local councils. The popular recall system was introduced in May 2006 to ensure the accountability of local government heads and local council members.
In December 2006, the Education Commission was divided into standing committees on education in cities and the provinces to promote local decision making on education. People were also given the right to vote directly for local education committee superintendents and members.
 
 
[1] As of 1991, the number of basic district local government organizations amounted to 260 in total, which included 67 cities, 137 counties, and 56 gu-level districts. The total number of council members working in these districts was 4,704. The 15 metropolitan government organizations, including Seoul, the five directly governed cities including Busan, and the provinces, saw the election of 866 members in total to their respective metropolitan councils.
[2] The position of honorary local council member was finally abolished with the July 2003 amendment of the LGA.
[3] The amendment of the LGA in December 2000 enabled metropolitan cities and provinces with a population of 8 million or more each to have vice-chiefs of respective local governments.
[4] The Ministry of Home Affairs later became the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs (MGAHA), with the right/obligation of nomination transferred to the Minister of Government Administration and Home Affairs accordingly.
[5] The amendment of the LGA in March 2002 allowed the vice-chief of a given local government to serve as the acting head when the head was served a sentence of imprisonment, but was not yet incarcerated because the exact length of the prison term was undecided by the court.

Source: Korea Institute of Public Administration. 2008. Korean Public Administration, 1948-2008, Edited by Korea Institute of Public Administration. Pajubookcity: Bobmunsa.

  ##PAGE##
 2) Amendments made to local government administrative structures and personnel regulations
The Rules on the Standards for the Administrative Structure and Personnel of Local Government Organizations was enacted in 1994, thereby abolishing and replacing the Rules of Organization on the Special City of Seoul and its Organizations and the Rules on the Administrative Structure and Personnel of Local Government Organizations, both enacted in 1991. The Rules on the Standards has since been amended 43 times and has served as a major institutional basis, along with the LGA, for local government and administration. The history of the Rules’ enactment and amendments can be summarized as follows.
In 1994, the central government formulated the first Rules on the Standards as an accompaniment to the newly amended LGA with the goal of promoting rational and efficient organization and operation of local governments, administrative bodies, and personnel. The Rules on the Standards was significant for being the first legislation to define management goals and targets concerning the organization and personnel of local administrative bodies. The Rules required local government organizations to set and recruit adequate numbers of government employees and staff members depending on local conditions as well as the nature and extent of the tasks involved. Local administrative bodies were expected to be created and maintained so that there were no overlapping functions, and each local government was obligated to devise a wide-ranging and systematic plan for management of their administrative bodies. And should the functions and workloads of these local administrative bodies change, the size of the personnel had to change accordingly (Article 3).
Cities and provinces were now given the right to create bureaus when they required a sub-organization consisting of at least three divisions. The ranks of office and bureau heads remained the same. The number of government employees employed in local organizations was required to be decided and maintained within the limits set by the Rules and in consideration of the size of the local population and the number of districts concerned. The Rules also imposed mandatory periodical and internal assessments of these organizations to ensure efficient operation and organization.
The overhaul of the entire governmental organization that took place in December 1994 led to the amendment of the Rules on the Standards in May 1995, changing the administrative makeup and functions of Seoul, the metropolitan cities, and the provinces to foster greater alignment between the activities of central agencies and local administrative bodies. The amended Rules included a new standard for ranking the heads of offices, bureaus, and headquarters for Seoul, the metropolitan cities, and the provinces. The specific positions and titles of these officials were now decided according to the rules of local governments. As the central government sought to centralize the management of water resources, cities and the provinces came to oversee sewage as part of their environment-related obligations. To incorporate disaster relief, human rescue and emergency aid functions into local fire headquarters, the newly amended Rules also raised the ceiling on the numbers of related divisions and officers to be created or appointed in each city or province.
The Rules on the Standards was again amended in December 1995 following the elections of local government heads so as to enhance the autonomy of local government organizations. To this end, the amended Rules defined the four essential organizations that each city or province must have—the Planning and Management Office, the Internal Affairs Bureau, the Auditing Office, and the Civil Defense and Disaster Management Bureau (except for Jeju)—while allowing mayors and governors to change the names, functions, and subunits of other non-essential offices, bureaus, and headquarters in their purview. In addition, the right to authorize the reform and restructuring of local government organizations, conducted by mayors, county magistrates, and district (gu) heads, was transferred from the Minister of Home Affairs to mayors and governors to enhance the autonomy of local governments.
The Rules on the Standards was further amended in August 1996 to broaden the function of local governments in the promotion and management of tourism in their respective areas, with an office, bureau, and/or headquarters added to the provinces of Gyeonggi-do, Chungcheongbuk-do, Chungcheongnam-do, Jeollabuk-do, Jeollanam-do, and Gyeongsangbuk-do to that end.
The requirement of preclearance from either the Minister of Home Affairs or the Minister of Education on the seniority-based promotion of local government employees was repealed in November 1996 with a view to boosting the morale of lower-level government employees and enhancing the management of government employees at or above Grade 5. At the same time, a new system was adopted to ensure the employment of candidates who had passed recruitment tests for entering Grade 7 and 9 of civil service even after long delays in their first assignments. There was also a new rule revising the respective weight placed on work performance, experience, and the training records of candidates under consideration for promotion to enhance the desire among public servants to heighten their capabilities. In an effort to retain competent and talented individuals in public service, overseas study was included as part of paid leave. The promotion opportunities for employees at the Grade 8 level also increased.
In February 1997, the Rules on the Standards was again amended, this time to enhance the competitiveness of local government organizations by providing more specific criteria for setting up secretariats for local councils, engineering colleges, local branches, and local offices in cities, counties, and districts (gu). Matters pertaining to the transfer of central government employees to local posts were also revised. Organizational rules for the Metropolitan City of Ulsan, a new city, were also adopted.
The criteria for setting up local government organizations became more rigorous in August 1998. Whereas local governments in the past could create new bureaus with at least three divisions and a new division with at least three systems depending on the workload, such bureaus now required four divisions, while the required number of systems for creating a new division was abolished (Article 5).
In the meantime, the amended Rules revoked the requirement of four essential organizations—i.e., the Planning and Management Office, the Internal Affairs Bureau, the Auditing Office, and the Civil Defense and Disaster Management Bureau—in each city/province and the limit on the number of offices, divisions and officers to five maximum, all of which were originally introduced to boost the autonomy of local governments.
There were apparent signs of local government expansion after the election of local government heads. The Rules on the Standards was thus amended yet again in September 1999, this time in order to halt the expansion of governmental organizations and achieve smaller and more efficient ones instead. Local governments were no longer allowed to create permanent advisory boards, and the number of assistants and supporting institutions at local government organizations was also reduced. Accordingly, the total number of personnel at local government organizations was obligated to be reduced yearly until the end of 2001. Local governments that were already under-employing persons were exempted from seeking the approval of either the Mayor or the Governor before hiring new assistants or creating supporting institutions.
The amendment of the Rules on the Standards in December 1999 specifically sought to address the changing administrative environment in Seoul. In an effort to strengthen Seoul’s policy-coordinating function, division heads and other senior officers now had to be central government employees of Grade 3. Grade 4 government employees were to be appointed as heads of densely populated dong. At the same time, the head of the Construction Headquarters in Busan was now required to be a local government employee at the Grade 2 level.
The amendment of the LGA in February 2000 introduced the position of the Administrative Vice Governor of Gyeonggi-do, to be filled by a central government employee at the Grade 2 level. The Rules on the Standards was thus amended to change the number of assistants and supporting institutions in consideration of Gyeonggi-do.
In December 2000, the Rules on the Standards was again changed to provide clearer criteria on setting up local government organizations and administrative bodies and to increase the legislative authority and activities of local councils. The effective date for the standard population size to be applied in creating new local government organizations was fixed at December 31 of each preceding year. The secretaries general of local councils were now put on an equal footing alongside the directors of planning and management offices in the implementing of agencies so that local councils had greater control and policymaking power. The Mayor of Busan was also granted discretionary power to decide whether to fill the position of the Busan Metropolitan Water Service Center with a local government employee of either Grade 2 or 3.
The amendment of the National Government Organization Act (NGOA) in January 2001 renamed the Ministry of Education as the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Management, and required the Minister of Education and Human Resources Management to serve as a Deputy Prime Minister. The Rules on the Standards was accordingly changed to reflect these new circumstances.
An open recruitment policy was introduced under the Local Government Employees Act (LGEA), enacted in October 2000. The Rules on the Standards was therefore amended to define the scope of open recruitment, the number and types of government jobs eligible for open recruitment, the terms of openly recruited government employees, and the methods of open recruitment. As the scope of the open recruitment policy expanded, up to 10 percent of division chiefs and higher positions in metropolitan governments, traditionally reserved for government employees of Grades 1 through 4, became subject to open recruitment.
The Rules on the Standards was again amended in December 2001 to downsize local government and administrative organizations. In an effort to promote the voluntary abolition of small cities, counties, and administrative districts at the local level, urban-rural towns and cities that had abolished certain administrative districts could now maintain their provisional organizations and personnel for up to eight years.
The Rules on the Standards was further amended in April 2003 to prevent the indiscriminate expansion of local government organizations. In order to stop the creation of unnecessary local offices and improve the efficiency of local public service, the minimum number of employees to work at each local office was increased to five. At the same time, Seoul was now required to appoint four policy coordination officers from among Grade 1 government employees. On the contrary, the position of the Construction and Subway Construction Officer, formerly served by either a Grade 1 or 2 official, could now be filled by either a Grade 2 or 3 official. Given Gyeonggi-do’s population size, economic development, and other particular characteristics, the heads of its local government offices and bureaus had to be Grade 2 or 3 officials, as in Seoul. In December 2003 the Rules came to include standards for creating new administrative organizations in the City of Gyeryong and the County of Jeungpyeong, and expanded the scale of the administrative organization of Ulsan City Hall to be on par with those of Gwangju and Daejeon.
The amendment of the Rules on the Standards in December 2004 was a decisive measure intended to enhance the autonomy of local government organizations. Thanks to this amendment, local governments are no longer required to seek the approval of the Minister of Government Administration and Home Affairs, mayors, or governors before creating the temporary organizations they need, so long as they stay within the boundaries defined for each type of local government. The new measure was necessary to enable local governments to manage particular local circumstances and the changing needs of constitutions with greater flexibility and effectiveness. Moreover, the new Rules allowed local governments to decide and control the number of local government employees of each rank with ordinances enacted by local councils, thereby enhancing local councils’ control over local governments. In the meantime, the creation of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) led each metropolitan government to set up a division and appoint an officer to work with the NEMA, and each basic district government to set up an office and a division and appoint an officer for the same purpose.
The decentralization trend accelerated when the Participatory Government under President Roh Muhyun came to power. The Rules on the Standards was thus amended again in February 2005, introducing an experimental system for managing the total labor costs of local governments with a view to enhancing their autonomy even further. Under the new total labor cost system—which was implemented on a pilot basis—a city or a province, in deciding the total number of Grade 5 local government employees to hire and the number of administrative units to set up, no longer needed to obtain the approval of the Minister of Government Administration and Home Affairs. Before applying the total labor cost system to all cities and provinces, the new Rules reinforced the obligation of local governments to perform internal organizational assessments. The Rules on the Standards was further amended in October of the same year to elevate the rank of the head of the Gyeonggi-do Fire Headquarters from Vice Superintendent to Superintendent of Firefighting in light of the increasing population of the province, the land area, the rate of fire occurrence, and the number of firefighting institutions concerned.
In April 2006, the Special Act on the Creation of the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province and International Free City as well as the Special Act on the Administrative System of Jeju-do were enacted, leading to stipulations added to the Rules on the Standards in which the ranks of personnel hired in Jeju and the kinds of supporting institutions created on the island were defined. The Rules on the Standards was amended in May of the same year to increase the number of provincial offices, bureaus, and headquarters in Gyeonggi-do from 16 to 17, and the number of divisions and officers in the province from 65 to 67.
The introduction of the SESS and the amendments made to both the Government Employees Act (GEA) and the LGA in June 2006 provided the statutory bases for cities and provinces to hire senior executive government employees as heads of their respective planning and management offices, agricultural technology centers, and other such institutions. In another effort to enhance the autonomy of cities and provinces, the central government employees that headed offices and bureaus overseeing local offices, handled planning works, and chief instructors at local government employee training centers were all replaced with local government employees. As local councils gained the freedom to organize standing committees as needed, each local council with 10 or more members was required to operate a Local Council Secretariat, while a local council with fewer than 10 members was obligated to operate a Local Council Office.

Source: Korea Institute of Public Administration. 2008. Korean Public Administration, 1948-2008, Edited by Korea Institute of Public Administration. Pajubookcity: Bobmunsa.
  ##PAGE##  3. Significance and Evaluation of Institutional Guarantees
 
(1) Constitution
By removing the restriction on local government in the Constitution of 1987, this era ushered in a renaissance of local government and administration. Although there were no major constitutional amendments comparable to the ones seen in the five preceding Republics, the increasing emphasis on decentralization naturally fuelled political and social debates on related constitutional issues and raised the demand for constitutional amendments.
                  While there was broad consensus on the need to enhance the rights of local councils to issue ordinances, this consensus could not be materialized due to remaining constitutional restrictions. In the meantime, the scope of penalties that could be levied by local councils, the violations of people’s rights by local ordinances, and the imposition of new duties by local ordinances all emerged as controversial issues.
                  The anticipated official creation of the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province and the need to guarantee its existence sparked much constitutional debate in 2006. Although the Participatory Government envisioned a groundbreaking model of decentralization akin to the federal system for Jeju, it ran into severe opposition. All it could achieve was to create the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province and enhance the new province’s powers and authorities as a special case.
Future constitutional amendments will have to involve changes to local government provisions, and decision and settlement of such issues as the scope of local councils’ rights to issue ordinances; the principle of no taxation without law in local jurisdictions; the principle of legality in local jurisdictions; the principle of legally limiting property rights in local jurisdictions; the territorial distribution of rights, and the like.
 
(2) LGA and its Amendments
Despite the multiple obstacles and limits it experienced, this era is significant for marking a second and more positive chapter in the history of local government in Korea, starting with the formation of elected local councils in 1991. Local government in Korea came to achieve formal completion when the elections for local government heads began to be held in 1995. Granting autonomy over education to local communities in December 2006 also dramatically expanded the scope of local government.
The increasing demand for decentralization since 1991 has added new dimensions to local government and administration. Positive signs are evident in the increasing autonomy that local governments exert today over matters of administration and taxation.

Source: Korea Institute of Public Administration. 2008. Korean Public Administration, 1948-2008, Edited by Korea Institute of Public Administration. Pajubookcity: Bobmunsa.