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Development Overview
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Public Administration

Organization for legislative administration

1. First Republic


For three years until 1948 after the defeat of Japan in World War II, the United States ruled Korea via a provisional military government. On May 10, 1948, the first elections for National Assembly members were held, leading to the appointment of 198 National Assembly members in total. The National Assembly then organized the Constitutional Assembly for drafting the first Constitution of Korea. The Constitution was officially ratified by the National Assembly on July 17, 1948, and led to the official establishment of the First Republic, complete with 11 ministries, four departments, and three committees, on August 15, 1948. Legislative administration was designated one of four independent departments placed under the Prime Minister’s supervision. The department was later called the Office of Legislation (OL). Its organization included a secretariat, three bureaus (i.e., Administrative Legislation, Economic Legislation, and Legislative Investigation), and a library. The organization of the OL was expanded in December 1949. Under the new system, Bureau 1 handled the drafting and review of legislative bills for the ministries of home affairs, foreign affairs, national defense, transportation, postal services, and government administration, as well as for the Higher Civil Service Examination Committee. Bureau 2 handled legislative bills for the ministries of finance, agriculture & forestry, and commerce & industry, as well as for the Office of Planning, the Accounting Office, the Foreign Capital and Purchase Service, the Provisional Foreign Procurement Bureau, and the Provisional Property Management Bureau. Bureau 3 handled legislative bills for the ministries of justice, culture & education, society, and health, as well as for the Office of Public Affairs and the Inspection Board.

The constitutional amendment of 1954, which occurred after the Korean War ended in a ceasefire, abolished the office of the Prime Minister. The amendment of the National Government Organization Act (NGOA) in February 1955 further reformed the central government organization into 12 ministries and two offices. The OL and its functions were merged with the Ministry of Justice, and although the OL was placed under the authority of the Minister of Justice, it was an independent organization.

Another interesting administrative body created in the First Republic for organizing legislation was the Committee for the Consolidation and Publication of Statutes. This conciliar administrative body founded in May 1951 was chaired by the Prime Minister and vice chaired by the head of the OL. The government reorganization campaign of 1955 downsized and reformed this committee into a more practical and secondary organization chaired by the head of the OL.
 
2. Second Republic


The Revolution of April 19, 1960, forced President Rhee Syngman’s resignation. This sudden, undemocratic and illegal interruption of the established constitutional order occasioned the birth of the so-called Second Republic. The Second Republic set up the Special Committee for Constitutional Basics to manage the drafting of necessary constitutional amendments. The third constitutional amendment drafted by this Committee introduced a parliamentary system complete with a bicameral national legislature and designated the Prime Minister as the head of the government. The amendment of the NGOA in July 1960 further reorganized the central government into 12 ministries and one department. The functions of the OL were consequently transferred to the Legislation Bureau, now part of the State Council Secretariat (later renamed the Cabinet Secretariat). The Legislation Bureau formed one of the key units of the Cabinet, along with the general accounting, personnel, and public affairs bureaus. Given the directorial element of legislative administration, one of the two section chiefs serving in the Cabinet Secretariat was put in charge of the Legislative Bureau.

 

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