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korean development of democracy and law

korean development of democracy and law
Alternative Title
한국 민주주의의 발전과 법
Publication Year
Research Report
현안분석, 2008-50
The purpose of this research is to explain and analyze the last two decades of development of Korean democracy from a legal perspective. There have been tremendous changes in laws and institutions since the 1987 political shift toward democracy. The year 1987 is a watershed in the process of Korean political development, opening a new era of democratic government after a bloodless democratic revolution and the ensuing adoption of a new constitution in 1987.

This research will look at the process and significance of consolidation of democracy since adoption of the new constitution in 1987 in order to see how Korean democracy has been solidified and institutionalized through law. Since the focal point of this research is centered on uncovering the kinds of legal mechanisms that have been institutionalized and how law shave contributed to the development of democracy, this study will be limited to Korean development of the rule of law since 1987.

The recent development of a political democracy is another success story of the Korean people, following the nation’s success in economic development. Korea did not fall behind in the race of the third wave of democratization in the world.1) She in stead became a model case for democratic development.

This research consists of fifteen chapters. In the first chapter, before undertaking our main objective, this book will briefly review the pre-1987 situation as background to facilitate our understanding of post-1987 development. The second chapter will highlight the dramatic paradigm shift of politics and law by looking at changing political dynamics. The third chapter will look at the new role of elections, which enables determinative function for democracy. The fourth chapter will take the issue of corruption which has been placed in a new dimension under democratic political system. The fifth chapter will handle enhanced transparency in the political process. The sixth chapter will review normalized new mechanisms of separation of powers. In chapters seven and eight, judicial reform and the active role of the constitutional court will be examined. Chapter nine will look at rectification of past wrongs. In chapters ten, eleven and twelve, improvement of human rights protection will be addressed. Chapters thirteen and fourteen will be devoted to laborers’ rights and women’s status, respectively. The last chapter will examine legal issues surrounding inter-Korean relations, a field that has emerged as a new discipline of law since the democratization process was set in motion.

1) See Samuel P. Huntington, The Third Wave: Democratizationin the Late Twentieth Century (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1993).
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