South Korea elected its first female president, Park Geun-hye, in a close-run contest in December 2012.
Her father President Park Chung-hee, ruled the country for 18 years after seizing power in a coup.
In 1974, at the age of 22, Ms Park became South Korea's first lady when her mother was shot dead by a North Korean assassin's bullet intended for her husband.
In September 2012 Ms Park issued a public apology for human rights abuses committed under her father.
Ms Park, of the Saenuri Party, succeeds Lee Myung-bak, who made good on a pledge to take a tougher line towards North Korea than his predecessor and to strengthen South Korea's alliance with the United States.
In her inauguration speech, she promised to prioritise both national security and economic revitalisation.
To North Korea, she offered a step-by-step trust-building process, but vowed she would "not tolerate any action that threatens the lives of our people and the security of our nation".
Relations with Pyongyang quickly became the first major crisis of her term when the North announced it was restarting the mothballed Yongbyon nuclear complex, pulled its workers out of the Kaesong joint industrial zone and cranked up the bellicose rhetoric in response to US-South Korean military exercises.
The South Korean president holds full executive powers and the premiership is a largely ceremonial post.
- Administrative divisions: This entry generally gives the numbers, designatory terms, and first-order administrative divisions as approved by the US Board on Geographic Names (BGN). Changes that have been reported but not yet acted on by BGN are noted.
- Capital city > Geographic coordinates: This entry gives the name of the seat of government, its geographic coordinates, the time difference relative to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and the time observed in Washington, DC, and, if applicable, information on daylight saving time (DST). Where appropriate, a special note has been added to highlight those countries that have multiple time zones.
- Capital city > Name: This entry gives the name of the seat of government, its geographic coordinates, the time difference relative to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and the time observed in Washington, DC, and, if applicable, information on daylight saving time (DST). Where appropriate, a special note has been added to highlight those countries that have multiple time zones.
- Constitution: The dates of adoption, revisions, and major amendments to a nation's constitution
- Country name > Conventional long form: This entry is derived from Government > Country name, which includes all forms of the country's name approved by the US Board on Geographic Names (Italy is used as an example): conventional long form (Italian Republic), conventional short form (Italy), local long form (Repubblica Italiana), local short form (Italia), former (Kingdom of Italy), as well as the abbreviation. Also see the Terminology note.
- Diplomatic representation from the US > Mailing address: This entry includes the chief of mission, embassy address, mailing address, telephone number, FAX number, branch office locations, consulate general locations, and consulate locations.
- Executive branch > Cabinet: Cabinet includes the official name for any body of high-ranking advisers roughly comparable to a U.S. Cabinet. Also notes the method for selection of members.
- Government type: A description of the basic form of government (e.g., republic, constitutional monarchy, federal republic, parliamentary democracy, military dictatorship).
- International organization participation: This entry lists in alphabetical order by abbreviation those international organizations in which the subject country is a member or participates in some other way.
- Judicial branch: The name(s) of the highest court(s) and a brief description of the selection process for members.
- Legal system: A brief description of the legal system's historical roots, role in government, and acceptance of International Court of Justice (ICJ) jurisdiction.
- Legislative branch: This entry contains information on the structure (unicameral, bicameral, tricameral), formal name, number of seats, and term of office. Elections includes the nature of election process or accession to power, date of the last election, and date of the next election. Election results includes the percent of vote and/or number of seats held by each party in the last election.
- Political parties and leaders: Significant political organizations and their leaders.
- Political pressure groups and leaders: Organizations with leaders involved in politics, but not standing for legislative election.
- Suffrage: The age at enfranchisement and whether the right to vote is universal or restricted
"South Korea Government Stats", NationMaster. Retrieved from http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/South-Korea/Government
"South Korea Government Stats, NationMaster." 1945-2014. <http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/South-Korea/Government>.
'South Korea Government Stats, NationMaster', <http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/South-Korea/Government> [assessed 1945-2014]
"South Korea Government Stats", NationMaster [Internet]. 1945-2014. Avaliable from: <http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/South-Korea/Government>.
"South Korea Government Stats", NationMaster. Avaliable at: nationmaster.com. Assessed 1945-2014.
"South Korea Government Stats, NationMaster," http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/South-Korea/Government (assessed 1945-2014)
"South Korea Government Stats", NationMaster, http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/South-Korea/Government (last visited 1945-2014)
"South Korea Government Stats", NationMaster, http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/South-Korea/Government (as of 1945-2014)