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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 Public Administration

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Public Administration

Organization for legislative administration

1. Fifth Republic


The assassination of President Park Chunghee on October 26, 1979, resurrected public debate over and the search for democratic constitutional amendments from multiple perspectives. But the search was short-lived, as Major General Chun Doohwan waged a coup d’état on May 17, 1980. It was in the midst of the official ban on democratic politics and the interruption once again of the existing constitutional order that the Fifth Republic came into being. The National Security Legislative Council, created in the aftermath of the coup, set up the Constitutional Amendment Deliberation Committee to draft the necessary constitutional amendments. The draft for the eighth constitutional amendment was submitted to a referendum and passed into law on October 27, 1980. The NGOA was accordingly amended in 1981, reorganizing the central government into two agencies, 15 ministries, and four departments. The OL, however, remained a central government agency under the Prime Minister’s supervision. In the meantime, the Legislative Investigation Committee was absorbed into the Legislative Investigation Bureau of the OL. The Administrative Procedure Act that went into effect in 1984 expanded the scope of administrative hearings and trials in the purview of the Prime Minister’s Committee for Administrative Proceedings, leading to the addition of the Administrative Proceedings Bureau to the OL.
 
2. Sixth Republic


Roh Taewoo, the then Chief Representative of the Democratic Justice Party that was governing Korea at the time, finally caved in to the rising demand for democratization and the replacement of the indirect presidential election system with a direct one, releasing the Declaration of June 29, 1987. The Declaration paved the way for the ninth amendment of the Constitution that centrally featured the new direct presidential election system. Whether this constitutional amendment amounts to the birth of a new republic still remains controversial. For there appears to have been no change of “republics,” as (1) no undemocratic and violent interruption of the existing constitutional order occurred; (2) the national legislature was not dismissed; and (3) the constitutional amendment took place through a legitimate process according to popular demand and by referendum. And yet, a new republic indeed appears to have come into being as (1) the controversial constitutional amendment did effectively replace the Fifth Republic, born amid a military coup, with a democratic government now directly elected by the people; and (2) the democratic government came into being as a result of a “bloodless revolution” involving the people’s demand for democracy. Considering these epochal changes, it appears that the amended Constitution of 1987 indeed ushered in a new republic.

The amended Constitution of 1987 remains in effect today. Although the government organization has undergone multiple changes since then, the OL has retained its status and structure as an independent central government agency under the Prime Minister’s supervision. While the People’s Government lowered the status of the OL head from a Minister to a Vice Minister, the succeeding Participatory Government re-elevated the position to the level of Minister.