The Republic of Korea's (ROK) first constitution was adopted on 17 July 1948. Through repeated revisions, power remained concentrated in the hands of the president until the most recent revision, adopted by 93.1% of the vote in a popular referendum on 28 October 1987. Under the new constitution, which took effect in February 1988, the president is elected by direct popular vote, rather than indirectly as before, for a single term of five years. There are also a prime minister and two deputy prime ministers, who head the State Council (the cabinet). Roh Moo Hyun was elected president on 19 December 2002 for a five-year term beginning on 25 February 2003.
The ROK legislature is the unicameral National Assembly (Kuk Hoe). It has 273 seats; 227 are filled by direct election, while the remaining 46 are filled proportionally. During the first four decades of the ROK, the National Assembly had little authority. The 1987 constitution strengthened the National Assembly, giving it power to audit government activities and removing the president's power to dissolve the Assembly. Suffrage is universal at age 20.
In the elections of 2000, the Grand National Party won a narrow victory with 39% of the vote.