South Korea is one of the countries in East Asia, and is situated upon the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. Similar to most democratic countries, South Korea’s government is divided into three arms, namely the judiciary, the executive, and the legislative. The executive arm is headed by the president who appoints the prime minister among other function. The National Assembly approves the premier’s appointment who serves in a similar position as the vice president. He or she is the principal assistant to the president. The premier assists the President in supervising ministries, recommend ministers for appointments, and the vice chairman to the cabinet. He or she replaces the president on an acting capacity if the president is not in a position to carry out his duties. Some of the most notable Prime Ministers of South Korea through history are looked at below.
Notable Prime Ministers of South Korea
Yi Pom-sok was the first South Korean premier, serving from 1948 to 1950, and a Korean independence activist before that. He was also the head of Korean Youth Corp and was nicknamed Chulgi. As a teenager, he was exiled to China for taking part in independence activities. He trained as a military officer and served in Korean Liberation Army for the Korean provisional government. Yi Pom-sok returned to Korea in 1946 and allied himself with Lee Syngman to form a unitary government serving as the first prime minister from July 31, 1948, to April 20, 1950. After his term in office, he served as ambassador. He also unsuccessfully contested for the vice presidency in 1952 and 1956. Yi Pom-sok died on May 11, 1972.
Chang Myon, born in 1899, was a statesman, a diplomat, and a social activist who was the fourth and last vice president of the First Republic. He was appointed the second prime minister of South Korea on November 23, 1950. He initially turned down the position, but Syngman Rhee managed pursued him to take it up. His association with the Catholic Church which was opposed to the Rhee saw him lose his premier’s position in April 1952. However, in 1960 Chang Myon was again elected the second prime minister of the Second Republic after Rhee was overthrown. He believed in democracy and fought against dictatorship. His administration managed to design a five-year development plan which was later used by, Park Chung-hee, the country’s fourth president. Chang Myon was removed from premier’s position on May 18, 1961. He died on January 27, 1966.
Chang Taek-sang, born in 1893, was a South Korean politician, policeman, and independence activist. He was South Korea’s first Minister for Foreign Affairs and the third Prime Minister, the position he held during the Korean War. As a minister in charge of foreign affairs, he was responsible for the country’s diplomacy and external affairs including trade and issues touching on overseas Korean nationals. He died on August 1, 1969, at the age of 75.
Chung Il-kwon, the Longest Serving Prime Minister
Chung Il-kwon, born in 1917, served continuously for the longest term as the prime minister of South Korea. He was a general in the Korean Army and served as Foreign Minister before being appointed as the prime minister in 1964. He is considered one of the excellent leaders from Korean because of his performance in class and how he handled his military duties. He was also a well-known war hero having led the South Korean Army to victory over North Korean Army in Pusan. He stepped down from his position in 1970, and he was elected member of the National Assembly the following year. He died in 1994 aged 76.