Elites and Political Power in South Korea
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Elites and Political Power in South Korea

Byong-Man Ahn

In Elites and Political Power in South Korea, Byong-Man Ahn examines problems related to Korea’s political and ruling systems. He examines the Korean government in a global context and explores Korea’s cultural and political matrix. The author goes on to analyze political power, political parties and the elites in terms of their contribution to the ongoing cycle of dominance. An understanding of Korean government is developed, with particular attention paid to the unique pattern of its administrative system vis-à-vis those of other systems.
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Chapter 7: Change of the Government Structure

Byong-Man Ahn


INTRODUCTION The change of government structure may be examined in two ways. One is to examine the reform of administrative structure conducted with the advent of the new Republic, including offices or agencies newly established and abolished, under the central government, with attention directed to motives and consequences.1 The other is to define political, economic and social implications of reforms of the government structure performed under each Republic, covering four major sectors, namely, economic, non-economic, diplomacy and security, and the supporting functions of the government. By comparing reforms conducted at the beginning of each Republic and those performed as it was drawing to its close, it is possible to grasp the major thrust of reforms, including how the motives served the goals and its consequences.2 The First and Second Republics Rhi Syng Man regime The Law on the Government Organizational Structure, put into effect on 17 July 1948, provided the framework for the central government structure of the First Republic. The newly organized government (see Table 7.1) took on significance as the first of its kind for a sovereign state released from colonial rule to set the pattern for a democratic form of government as provided in the Constitution and to set the pace for bureaucratic development to follow. This reform of government structure, however, reaped criticism for failing to eradicate all elements of colonial heritage.3 To acquire the democratic accouterments of a sovereign state, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was the first to come into being, followed by the...

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