Term Limits in South Korea: Promises and Perils

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    South Korea’s single five-year term limit for the presidency is among the shortest office terms for a head of government. This chapter traces constitutional revisions in the country before and following the 1987 Constitution to show how the term limit represents a hard-fought critical principle of democratic accountability following a history of autocratic authority in the hands of presidents willing to use force to get into office or extend their tenure. At the same time, the unwelcome outcome of the term limit is a political system where the president as leader has few incentives to shift focus to the parties or legislature, which contributes to under-institutionalization in the country and fuels policy gridlock and conflict. The unsatisfactory fit of principle and outcome explains why talk of reforms has surfaced regularly since 1987; while none has been adopted, political and policy progress in the country clearly hinge on mediating principle with better outcomes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationthe Politics of Presidential Term Limits
    Editors Alexander Baturo and Robert Elgie
    Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
    PublisherOxford University Press
    ISBN (Print)978-0198837404
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


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