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National Assembly of the Republic of Korea

National Assembly

19th National Assembly
Type Unicameral
Speaker Kang Chang-hee, NFP
Since 3 July 2012
Vice Speaker Lee Byung-suk, NFP
Since 3 July 2012
Vice Speaker Park Byeong-seug, DP
Since 3 July 2012
Seats 300
Political groups      Saenuri (154)
     Democratic (127)
     Unified Progressive (6)
     Justice (5)
     Independents (8)
Voting system Parallel voting:
First-past-the-post (single member constituencies)
Party-list proportional representation (national lists)
Last election 11 April 2012
Meeting place

National Assembly Building, Seoul (37°31′55.21″N 126°54′50.66″E / 37.5320028°N 126.9140722°E / 37.5320028; 126.9140722)


The National Assembly (Korean: 국회, Gukhoe, hanja: 國會) is the 300-member[1] unicameral legislature of South Korea. The latest legislative elections were held on 11 April 2012. Single-member constituencies comprise 246 of the assembly's seats, while the remaining 54 are allocated by proportional representation.[2] Members serve four-year terms.

The unicameral assembly consists of at least 200 members according to the Constitution. In 1990 the assembly had 299 seats, 224 of which were directly elected from single-member districts in the general elections of April 1988. Under applicable laws, the remaining seventy-five representatives were appointed by the political parties in accordance with a proportional formula based on the number of seats won in the election. By law, candidates for election to the assembly must be at least thirty years of age. As part of a political compromise in 1987, an earlier requirement that candidates have at least five years' continuous residency in the country was dropped to allow Kim Dae-jung, who had spent several years in exile in Japan and the United States during the 1980s, to return to political life. The National Assembly's term is four years. In a change from the more authoritarian Fourth Republic and Fifth Republic (1972–80 and 1980–87, respectively), under the Sixth Republic, the assembly cannot be dissolved by the president.

Current composition

Parties in the 19th Assembly of South Korea
(as of 17 May 2013)
Group Floor leader Seats  %
Saenuri Party Choi Gyeong-hwan 154 (+2) 51.33
Democratic Party Jeon Byeong-heon 127 (+0) 42.33
Unified Progressive Party Oh Byeong-yun 6 (-7) 2
Justice Party Sim Sang-jeong 5 (+5) 1.67
Independents 8 (+5) 2.67
Total 300 100.0


  1. Negotiation groups can be formed by 20 or more members. There are currently 2 negotiation groups in the Assembly, formed by Saenuri Party and Democratic Party.
  2. Kang Chang-hee was elected as Speaker on July 2. After his election, Kang gave up his Saenuri Party membership under the National Assembly Act, and the ruling party now occupies 152 out of the 300 seats in the legislature. Of the 283 lawmakers who participated in the election, in which Kang was the sole candidate, 195 voted for him.[3]
  3. Change in seat number since last election noted in brackets.

Structure and appointment


The constitution stipulates that the assembly is presided over by a Speaker and two Deputy Speakers,[4] who are responsible for expediting the legislative process. The Speaker and Deputy Speakers are elected in a secret ballot by the members of the Assembly, and their term in office is restricted to two years.[5] The Speaker is independent of party affiliation, and the Speaker and Deputy Speakers may not simultaneously be government ministers.[5]

Negotiation groups

Parties that hold at least 20 seats in the assembly form floor negotiation groups (Korean: 교섭단체, RR: gyoseop danche), which are entitled to a variety of rights that are denied to smaller parties. These include a greater amount of state funding and participation in the leaders' summits that determine the assembly's legislative agenda.[6]

Legislative process

To introduce a bill, a legislator must present the initiative to the Speaker with the signatures of at least ten other members of the assembly. The bill must then be edited by a committee to ensure that the bill contains correct and systematic language. It can then be approved or rejected by the Assembly.[7] Legislative process Revision as of 07:35, 9 September 2012 by Onepark (Talk | contribs) (diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)

The legislative process (입법절차/立法節次) in Korea consists of two tracks: One is in the National Assembly, another in the Government. The Constitution grants the National Assembly the legislative power and permits the Executive and other organs to exercise the lawmaking power on subordinate statutes other than Acts.[1]

As for the legislative system in general, including the hierarchy of legislation, see Legislative system in Korea. Contents

   1 Key words
   2 In the National Assembly
       2.1 Drafting
       2.2 Introduction
       2.3 Examinations
       2.4 Deliberation at Plenary Session
   3 In the Government
       3.1 Drafting of Acts and Subordinate Statutes
       3.2 Consultation with Ministries concerned
       3.3 Consultation between Government and Ruling Party
       3.4 Advance Publication of Legislation
       3.5 Examination of MoLeg
       3.6 Deliberation in State Council
       3.7 Signing and Promulgation
   4 References

Key words

legislative process, National Assembly, central government agency In the National Assembly

The legislative power in Korea is exclusively vested in the National Assembly.[2] A bill is processed into an act in the following sequence under the National Assembly Act:[3] Drafting

A legislator may introduce a bill to the National Assembly with more than 10 legislators consenting thereto. If the said bill requires any budget measure, a written estimation for implementing expenses shall be accompanied. He/she may ask for help in drafting a bill from the Legislative Counseling Office in the National Assembly Secretariat.

Each committee of the National Assembly may also introduce a bill on matters under its jurisdiction in the name of the chairman of the committee. In this case, the committee may set up a sucommittee mandated to draft a bill and the committee may adopt or resolve on the drafted bill after questions and answers, debate and article-by-article examination. Introduction

Under the Constitution, not only a member of the National Assembly but also the government may introduce a bill. Article 52. Government-initiated bills are introduced to the National Assembly in the name of the President with the bill countersigned by the Prime Minister and Minister(s) concerned. The Supreme Court, the National Election Committee and the Board of Inspection and Audit cannot introduce a bill but submit their opinions on necessary amendment to the relevant laws. In this case, the Speaker of the National Assembly refers their opinions to the relevant committee. Examinations

When a bill is introduced to the National Assembly, the Speaker shall report it to the plenary session and refer it to the competent standing committee, and, after full examination by the standing committee, refer the bill again to the plenary session.

Every committee votes on the bill after its introducer explains the purpose of the draft bill, and full examination is over. Special counsel's report on the outcome of such examination, general debate, public hearings, article-by-article review, etc. are required.

When the competent committee completes the examination of the bill, it is referred to the Legislation and Judiciary Committee for consistent frameworks, forms and wordings. So the enactment or amendment of an act are in conformity of the system and objective of lawmaking, and in balance with other existing acts.

Upon the request of not less than on fourth of the total members before and after major bills (concerning government organization, tax or other burdensome liability of the citizens) are on the agenda of the plenary session, the Committee of Full Members is to examine such bills. The Speaker may, when it is deemed necessary to deliberate on such bills, skip the Committee of Full Members after obtaining consent of the floor leaders of negotiating groups. Deliberation at Plenary Session

The plenary session shall vote after hearing the reports of chairmen whose committees have examined such bills and then taking the process of questions and debate. In the Government

The legislative work in the government concerns about Acts proposed by itself and subordinate statutes including implementing decree, ministerial ordinance, notification, etc. Drafting of Acts and Subordinate Statutes

The Ministries in charge of shaping policies may draft bills on matters under their respective jurisdictions. If the content of a bill is related with other Ministries, such related Ministries shall jointly draft the bill. While drafting an act or subordinated statutes, normative and sustainable policy wills shall be explicitly expressed in objective words. Drafters are required to clearly set, supplement and standardize such policy goals in order to attain them in a concret and distinct manner. Drafters shall analyze and forecast contents of policy goals, effects from the attainment of policy goals, financial needs for them, incidental problems, optional alternatives, their impact on the current legal system, etc. Consultation with Ministries concerned

Upon completing the drafting a bill, the Ministry has to consult with other Ministries concerned about such bill, and to coordinate its contents, if necessary. With respect to budgetary matters, the drafting Ministry is required to consult with the Ministry of Strategy and Finance.

Prior consultations with related Ministries is necessary to ensure smooth cooperation and coordination among them in the course of enforcing Acts and subordinate statutes. When those Ministries fail to reach an agreement, they may place the bill before the State Council by citing the ground of their disagreement. Consultation between Government and Ruling Party

The government may consult with the ruling party when a bill seems to greatly affect policy issues of the State and citizens' life. Also it may seek cooperation from opposition parties. This is a kind of practice to harmonize the positions of the government and the ruling party by means of high level ruling party-government policy coordination meeting and the government official's policy briefing. Advance Publication of Legislation

Every government-initiated bills are published in advance after going through the above-mentioned legislative process. The advance publication is designed to make public its content to reflect various opinions in the legislation and to decratize the legislative process. However, the advance publication may be skipped in case such legislation is urgent and advance publication is unnecessary or likely to adversely affect the public interest.

The period of the advance publication of any legislation in not less than 20 days. If such period is to be shortened, the Ministry concerned is required to consult with the Minister of Government Legislation thereabout.

If any draft Act or subordinate statute is of regulatory nature, the Ministry concerned is required to file an application, with the analysis of regulatory impact of the draft attached, with the Regulatory Reform Committee subject to the Framework Act on Administrative Regulations. Examination of MoLeg

The Ministry of Government Legislation (MoLeg) examines not only the formal aspects of terms and ststem of legal wordings but the practical aspects of the draft. It is important to find out whether the draft Act or subordinate statute is in conflict with higher Acts and subordinated statutes. To ensure the faithful and fair examination, MoLeg holds a joint meeting with government officials concerned. Deliberation in State Council

In the final stage, the draft Act or subordinate statute are put on the agenda of the State Council after the thorough examination of the Vice-Ministerial meeting. The State Council is a top policy deliberation body mandated to deliberate on important government policies. The State Council hears proposal explanations from the Minister of competent Ministry, and resolves after debates, if necessary. Signing and Promulgation

When the draft Act or Presidential Decree is signed by the President and countersigned by the Prime Minister and the Minister of competent Ministry, the draft Act is submitted without delay to the National Assembly. The Act passed by the National Assembly or the Presidential Decree resolved by the State Council, respectively after necessary signing and countersigning, is to be promulgated when it has been published on the Official Gazette. The emergency executive (financial and economic) order[4] which is issued by the President is the same as Presidential Decree in the process of promulgation. References

   ↑ Ministry of Government Legislation, "A Guide to the Legislative System and Procedure in the Republic of Korea", Laws on Government Organization 2008 Edition, p. 159.
   ↑ Ibid.
   ↑ The English translation of the Act as of is available here.
   ↑ Its example is the Emergency Executive Financial and Economic Order issued by the President Kim Young-sam on August 3, 1993 in order to enforce the Real Name Financial System with a blitz.


Since the promulgation of the March 1988 electoral law, the assembly has been elected every four years through a Supplementary Member system, meaning that some of the members are elected from constituencies according to the system of First Past the Post, while others are elected at a national level through Proportional Representation.[8] As of 2012, 246 members represent constituencies, while 54 were elected from PR lists. In contrast to elections to the Assembly, presidential elections occur once every five years, and this has led to frequent situations of minority government and legislative deadlock.[9]

Reform proposals

A proposal to lower the number of seats required to form a negotiation group to 15 was passed on 24 July 2000, but was overturned by the Constitutional Court later that month.[10] In order to meet the quorum, the United Liberal Democrats, who then held 17 seats, arranged to "rent" three legislators from the Millennium Democratic Party. The legislators returned to the MDP after the collapse of the ULD–MDP coalition in September 2001.[11]

Legislative violence

From 2004 to 2009, the assembly gained notoriety as a frequent site for legislative violence.[12] The Assembly first came to the world's attention during a violent dispute on impeachment proceedings for then President Roh Moo-hyun,[13][14] when open physical combat took place in the assembly. Since then, it has been interrupted by periodic conflagrations, piquing the world's curiosity once again in 2009 when members battled each other with sledgehammers and fire extinguishers.[15][16][17][18] Images of the melee were broadcast around the world.


First Republic

Elections for the assembly were held under UN supervision[19] on 10 May 1948. The First Republic of South Korea was established on 17 July 1948[20] when the constitution of the First Republic was established by the Assembly. The Assembly also had the job of electing the President, and elected anti-communist Syngman Rhee as President on 10 May 1948.

Second Republic

Third Republic

Fourth Republic

Fifth Republic

Sixth Republic

National Assembly Government Major Opposition(s) President
Position Party/Coalition Seats won Name Tenure Position
13th (1988) style="background: ;" rowspan=1| Liberal PDPRDPNDRP 164 / 299 Democratic Justice Party Roh Tae-woo 1988—1993 Conservative
Conservative DJPRDPNDRP 184 / 299 Peace Democratic Party  
14th (1992) Conservative Democratic Liberal Party 149 / 299
(lack majority)
Democratic Party (1991), Unification National Party Kim Young-sam 1993—1998 Conservative
15th (1996) style="background: ;" rowspan=2| Liberal NCNPULDDemocrats 144 / 299 New Korea Party, United Democratic Party  
Kim Dae-jung 1998—2003 style="border-bottom:solid 0 gray; background: "| Liberal
16th (2000) style="background: ;" rowspan=2| Liberal MDPULDDPP 134 / 273
(lack majority)
Grand National Party   style="border-top:solid 0 gray; background: "|
  style="border-bottom:solid 0 gray; background: "|
17th (2004) style="background: ;" |Liberal Uri Party 152 / 299 Grand National Party Roh Moo-hyun 2003—2008 style="border-top:solid 0 gray; border-bottom:solid 0 gray; background: "| Liberal
18th (2008) Conservative Grand National Party 153 / 299 United Democratic Party, Liberty Forward Party,
Pro-Park Coalition
  style="border-top:solid 0 gray; background: "|
Lee Myung-bak 2008—2013 Conservative
19th (2012) Conservative Saenuri Party 152 / 300 Democratic United Party, Unified Progressive Party  
Park Geun-hye 2013— Conservative


See also


  • U.S. Library of Congress Country Studies
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