“The Republic of Korea is a constitutional democracy. Its constitution also determines the structure of the government. Its government is divided into three branches: executive, judicial, and legislative. The country has had a presidential system with an independent chief executive since its first election in 1948.
“It was not until mid-1990s that decentralization began in earnest. Although elections for mayors and governors were held for the first time in 1960, this attempt at decentralization was short-lived because of the military coup in 1961,and it was not attempted again under the series of military governments from the 1960s through to the 1980s. Instead, the mayors and governors of local governments were appointed by the President during the authoritarian regime. After a prolonged political debate, decentralization was revived in 1991, though only partially in a sense that the system of appointing mayors and governors remained. It was only after a civilian government was launched that formal decentralization was achieved in 1995 through a historic election that was carried out to elect the heads of local executive governments and the members of local legislative bodies.”
Source: World Health Organization. Regional Office for the Western Pacific. (2015). Republic of Korea health system review. Manila: WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific.