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Kuk Hoe (National Assembly)

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Parliament name (generic / translated) Kuk Hoe / National Assembly
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 9 April 2008
Purpose of elections Elections were held for all the seats in Parliament on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.
The April 2008 elections were the first to be held under the country's new President Lee Myung-bak of the Grand National Party (GNP). After serving as Mayor of Seoul and a top executive at Hyundai he was elected in December 2007 and pledged to make the economy his top priority.

In the previous parliamentary elections held in April 2004 the Uri Party of the then President Roh had won 152 of the 299 seats. The GNP had followed with 121 seats. The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) had taken ten seats. The former ruling Millennium Democratic Party (DP members of which had formed the Uri Party in October 2003) and the right-wing United Liberal Democrats had taken nine and four seats respectively.

Prior to the 2008 elections many new parties were formed.

In August 2007 the Uri Party disbanded itself. Most of its parliamentarians joined the newly-created United New Democratic Party (UNDP) along with five former DP members. In October other former Uri Party members formed the Renewal of Korea Party. After the 2007 presidential elections the UNDP merged with the DP and renamed itself the "Democratic United Party" (DUP) led by Mr. Son Hak-gyu while the Liberty Forward Party (LFP) merged with the People First Party (PFP). The GNP criticized the merger calling LFP members "migrating-bird politicians" who switched political affiliation frequently.

In late March Ms. Park Geun-hye - daughter of former president Park Chung-hee and former GNP chairwoman - complained of the elimination of many of her supporters in the GNP's selection of parliamentary candidates. She had been defeated by Mr. Lee for the GNP presidential nomination. Many of her loyalists left the GNP to form a new party Park's Party while Ms. Park herself remained in the GNP.

The economy and employment figured prominently in the campaign. The DUP promised to create more jobs through economic growth. It pledged to work towards affording greater protection to the country's low- and middle-income families. The GNP leader Kang Jae-sup called on voters' to retrieve "the 10 years the country lost under incompetent liberal governments". Its manifesto included university reforms that would give more autonomy to universities.

Pre-election opinion polls indicated a resounding victory for the GNP due mainly to President Lee's popularity. They also predicted a low turnout at the polls. On 7 April the election commission announced an incentive to boost turnout; persons who vote in the election would receive a certificate allowing them to obtain discounts on entrance fees at national museums parks and other public cultural facilities across the country.

Nevertheless only 46 per cent of the 37.8 million eligible voters turned out at the polls down from 60 per cent recorded in the 2004 elections.

The GNP won 153 seats securing a majority in the National Assembly for the first time since 1998. The DUP took 81. The LFP came in third with 18 seats followed by the Park's Party which took 14 seats. Around 30 elected GNP candidates were reportedly loyal to Ms. Park. The DLP took five seats while the NPP failed to win any. The Renewal of Korea Party won three seats.

The newly-elected National Assembly held its first session on 30 May.

However the National Assembly was unable to elect a new Speaker due to a boycott by opposition parties in protest at the decision to resume beef imports from the United States. On 10 July the National Assembly was finally reconvened after the GNP accepted to revise the law on livestock diseases and investigate the Seoul-Washington beef deal.

Mr. Kim Hyong-O (GNP) was elected as the new Speaker.

The Democratic United Party (DUP) changed its name to the Democratic Party (DP) after the 2008 elections.
Voter turnout
Round no 19 April 2008
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
17'389'206 (46.01%)
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total Majority PR
Grand National Party (GNP) 153 131 22
Democratic United Party (DUP) 81 66 15
Independents 25 25 0
Liberty Forward Party (LFP) 18 14 4
Park's Party 14 6 8
Democratic Labour Party (DLP) 5 2 3
Renewal of Korea Party 3 1 2
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
Source: National Assembly (28.04.2008 01.01.2010)

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