The achievement of democracy and econom- ic growth in what is dubbed as “the miracle on the Han River” is regarded as the greatest achievement of the Republic of Korea (ROK). The achievement of democracy was based on the ideal of participatory democracy and active voter participation. Since the establishment of the ROK government, several important changes in the form of government and method of election
have taken place. Although a presidential form of government has been dominant, a parliamentary cabinet system was introduced. Indirect election of the president has been replaced by direct elec- tion. The election of the National Assembly was changed several times. Electoral districts were redrawn or some districts were merged or further divided in accordance with changes in popu- lation. The ROK has now adopted a five-year
single-term system for the presidency and the unicameral National Assembly. National Assem- bly members are elected in single-member district rst-past-the-post voting. The National Assembly members are also elected in proportional repre- sentation with seats allocated by political party. In addition, as the local autonomy system was revived in 1991, members of local councils were elected in local elections. Since 1995, the Simul-
taneous Nationwide Local Elections, in which the mayor, provincial governor, and county governor are chosen, are held every four years. This type of election, by which a local council is organized in each administrative district, and the culture of grassroots democracy, in which an administrative representative is chosen and local citizens select a policy agenda, are building a solid foundation of democracy for Korea.