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Representation of Minority under Deliberative Democracy and the Proportional Representation System in the Republic of Korea

BK 21 law
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  • Proportional Representation
  • Representative Democracy
  • Deliberative Democracy
  • Representation Of Minority
  • Gender Quota
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Political Science


This paper diagnoses the norms of minority representation in the political processes of constituting the legislature and of lawmaking in a representative democracy, and analyzes South Korea’s proportional representation system as currently in operation primarily under the Public Official Election Act (as most recently revised by Law No. 10067, effective March 12, 2010), as it pertains to the representation of women. Under the current state of representative democracy in South Korea, democracy can be strengthened by pluralizing the modes and sites of representation, which entails that democratic institutions and practices take measures to include underrepresented groups whose perspectives would likely be excluded or marginalized in political process. The most effective mechanism to implement such mandate of presence and participatory engagement of under-represented groups may function at the early phase of political process, where the representative body is constituted and the core agenda for legislation and policymaking are introduced, deliberated and determined. South Korea’s proportional representation system aims to promote such goal, particularly as it pertains to the representation of women. Proportional representation as it currently operates in South Korea provides more opportunity for differentiated representation than does a system based on single-member, simple plurality electoral districts. Statistics indicate that the proportional representation system has contributed to enhance the presence of women at the legislature in South Korea both at national and local levels. The next and more constitutionally challenging task is how to improve the system so that the system itself and the system-induced increase in the presence of women at the legislature may bring in sustainable changes in perception of the constituents towards minority perspective representation in political process and, further, actual legislative and political activities in this vein.

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