South Korea History - from Dictatorship to Democracy

South Korea History: from Dictatorship to Democracy

Asia

In South Korea, the 1950s were characterized by the increasingly marked involution of the Syngman Rhee dictatorship (National Security Law, 1958). The overthrow of the latter in 1960 marked the beginning of a new phase which, after a brief interregnum, identified itself with the Park Chung-hee regime. (re-elected in 1972 and 1978, for seven years, with unlimited powers) who implemented a regime, de facto authoritarian even if within a formally democratic structure. After the assassination, in October 1979, of President Park Chung-hee who had been in power continuously since 1961 and whose broad prerogatives had been defined in the 1972 Constitution, the country was shaken by large popular demonstrations for the return to democracy, but the power remained in the hands of the military (Constitution of 1980). New interim presidentwas elected (1979) Choi Kyu-Hah. From 1980 to 1988 the presidency of the Republic was assumed by Chun Doo Hwan, continuer of a substantially authoritarian regime. The new Constitution, which opened the way to an effective democratization of institutions, was approved with a popular referendum (October 1987). In December of the same year, General Roh Tae Woo won the presidential elections. In the legislative elections of April 1988, the government party lost, for the first time in forty years, an absolute majority in the Seoul Parliament, but remained in the government since the leftist formations were unable to launch an alternative coalition. In 1988 the country hosted the Olympics, boycotted by North Korea, in a climate of student unrest that continued during the following year. flanked by strikes in large industries.

According to aceinland, the deterioration of the economic situation was matched by that of political life, marked by the intensification of repressive actions; Furthermore, in 1990 the internal political balance was strongly shaken by the merger between the ruling party and two of the opposition, with the birth of the conservative majority force of the Liberal Democratic Party (PDL), and in 1993 its candidate, Kim Yung-Sam, won the first free presidential elections after years of military dictatorship. In 1995, the opposition also gave birth to a new party, the National Congress for New Policy (NCNP), without, however, being able to take electoral advantage from the crisis that had hit the very top of the state following the scandal linked to a bribe system widespread in the country and which had touched the president himself. The conservatives passed a law, approved by a Parliament convened without the presence of opposition deputies, which allowed companies greater freedom in terms of working hours, salaries, dismissals. On the international level, after the resumption (1989) of diplomatic relations with the USSR and with the countries already belonging to the Communist bloc, in 1991 the planned withdrawal of a part of the US forces began (the completion of which was subject to the cessation of nuclear threat from North Korea) and in 1992 the reconciliation agreement with North Korea, which then saw a concrete response postponed, even if the two states repeatedly declared themselves ready to meet to break down that 240 km long barrier that had split the Peninsula in two for fifty years. War declarations and forays into the demilitarized zone by the North Korean first (1996) and then the fears of the Seoul leaders about the costs of a reunification in the face of the serious financial crisis that occurred in 1997-98 acted against the launch of a positive solution. The collapse of the Asian stock exchanges, in fact, did not spare South Korea and the government, which had obtained a massive intervention from the Monetary Fund, was forced to adopt an economic maneuver that further penalized workers: tax increases, cuts in public spending, freezes of credits, while the domestic market, protected until then, was open to industrial and financial competition. In this climate of economic emergency and strong social tensions, the elections took place (December 1997) that brought the elderly person to the presidency of the country. Kim Dae-Jung, in his fourth presidential campaign, a staunch opponent of the military. The new president favored an understanding between the unions and the industrialists to face the crisis.

In 2000, a coalition government was formed that initiated a policy of economic austerity and continued in the line of opening towards Pyeongyang. In 2003 the reformist Roh Moo-Hyun (1946-2009) became president, succeeding Kim Dae-Jung, of whom he had been a collaborator. In 2004, the government agreed to participate in Beijing in the “Six-Party Talks”, promoted by China, with the US, North Korea, Japan and Russia, to resolve the crisis. In return, he obtained aid from neighboring countries, in particular from Japan. In April 2006, a woman headed the government: Han Myung Sook, who resigned in March 2007 and was replaced by Han Duck Soo. In October 2007, the leaders of the two Koreas met and signed a document that promised to overcome the previous divisions and to make the peninsula a zone of peace. In December, the presidential elections were held, won by Lee Myung-bak (Grand National Party), former mayor of Seoul; parliamentary elections in April 2008 gave a broad consensus to President Lee’s party. In November 2010, the tension between the two Koreas rekindled, following a border incident near the island of Yeonpyeong, which resulted in exchanges of heavy artillery. In 2012, Sejong City was inaugurated, the new administrative center of the country, with ministries, government agencies and public offices. Also in the same year, in December, she was elected, for the first time in the history of the country, a woman in the presidency of the republic.

Park Geun-hye, daughter of former President Park Chung-hee and leader of the Conservative Party, took office in February 2013. The government chaired by Park implemented a reformist policy aimed at accelerating the pace of growth, which has significantly declined in recent years. years. In the 2016 parliamentary elections, the Conservative Party lost its majority, obtaining only 122 seats against the 123 won by the Minjoo party. In December 2017, President Park was charged with corruption and suspended from office. It took over significantly decreased in recent years. In the 2016 parliamentary elections, the Conservative Party lost its majority, obtaining only 122 seats against the 123 won by the Minjoo party. In December 2017, President Park was charged with corruption and suspended from office. It took over significantly decreased in recent years. In the 2016 parliamentary elections, the Conservative Party lost its majority, obtaining only 122 seats against the 123 won by the Minjoo party. In December 2017, President Park was charged with corruption and suspended from office. It took over interim Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn. In March 2017, the Constitutional Court unanimously approved the impeachment procedure against Park, who was then dismissed. The elections of May 2027 gave the victory to Moon Jae-in, leader of the Democratic Party. Always in favor of a relaxation of relations with North Korea, Moon Jae-in managed to loosen relations between the two countries, especially starting from the 2018 Winter Olympics. In April of the same year, a historic meeting between Moon took place. Jae-in and the leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un, during which the signing of a peace treaty between the two Koreas and the stipulation of an agreement for the denuclearization of the peninsula took place.

South Korea History - from Dictatorship to Democracy