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South Korea

General Information

  • Territory - 99 678 km2
  • Capital - Seoul, 10.3 million
  • Population - 48.754 million (2011 est.)
  • Average age - 38.4 years (2010)
  • Life expectancy - Men, 75 years; Women, 82 years (2010)

Political System

  • Republic, representative and multi-party democracy, presidential system. Universal vote for citizens above 19 years old.

  • The President is the Head of State, elected by direct suffrage for a single term of 5 years. The President holds most of the executive power. With the agreement of the National Assembly, the President nominates the Prime Minister as well as the Cabinet, under recommendation from the Prime Minister. The President leads the Executive, even though the Prime Minister is officially the Head of Government.

  • The Executive Power is exerted by the President. The Prime Minister has the responsibility of supervising the administrative functions of the different ministries. The Cabinet members are accountable to the President.

  • The Legislative Power is shared by the Government and the National Assembly. The National Assembly has 299 seats, of which 243 are elected in single-seat constituencies and 56 by proportional representation, for a 4 year term.

  • The Judicial Power is independent from Executive and Legislative powers. The Supreme Court is the highest judiciary body – its Judges are nominated by the President with the approval of the National Assembly. The Constitutional Court is composed of 9 Judges, all nominated by the President: three by direct appointment, three suggested by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and three from candidates selected by the National Assembly.

  • » Main Political Parties
    • (GNP) Grand National Party (conservative – in government)
    • (DP) Democratic Party (centre-left – main opposition party)
    • (LFP) Liberal Forward Party (conservative)
    • (LDP) Democratic Labour Party (left)
    • (CKP) Creative Korea Party (centre)
    • (NPP) New Progressive Party (left)
  • » Upcoming elections
    • Presidential: December 2012
    • Legislative: April 2012
    • Constitution: July 17th 1948, last revised in 1987

Economy

  • Currency: won
  • GDP (PPP, 2010): USD$ 1, 459 trillion
  • GDP growth: 2004, 4.6%; 2005, 4.0%; 2006, 5.2%; 2007, 5.1%; 2008, 2.2%.; 2009, 0,2%; 2010, 6,1% (estimate)
  • GDP per capita: 27 240 USD$ (2009)
  • Inflation: 3% (2010 est.)
  • Jobless rate: 3.3% (2010 est.)
  • Foreign reserves: US$ 270.9 billion (2009)
  • Production structure: Services – 56,3%; Industry, mining – 28,8%; Construction – 9.2%; Agriculture, forestry, fisheries – 3,3%; Electricity, gas and water – 2,4% (2005)
  • Main industries: Electronics and electrical products; Telecommunications; Automobile; Shipbuilding; Mining; Petrochemical; Industrial machinery; Steel
  • Defence Budget: 2,5% of GDP (2008)
  • Working population: 24,62 million (2010) – Services, 68,4%; Industry, 24,3%; Agriculture, 7,5%