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Kim Young Sam

(b. 1927)


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(b. 20 Dec. 1927).

President of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) 1993–8Born near Pusan, he graduated in sociology from the Seoul National University in 1951. He became a secretary to Syngman Rhee, but left the ruling Liberal Party in 1954, in protest against Rhee's dictatorial style. Together with Kim Dae Jung, he subsequently emerged as one of the country's foremost oppositional leaders, becoming Chairman of the New Democratic Party. He was put under house arrest after the Kwanju massacre in 1980, and later became co‐chairman of the Council for Promotion of Democracy with Kim Dae Jung. His candidacy in the 1987 presidential elections against Kim Dae Jung split the opposition and allowed the government candidate, Roh Tae Woo, to win. He consented to the merger of his Reunification Democratic Party (established in 1987) with the ruling Democratic Justice Party and the New Democratic Republican Party to form the Democratic Liberal Party under Roh Tae Woo in 1990. He was elected head of the party in 1992, winning the presidential elections of 18 December 1992.

 South Korea's first civilian President in 32 years, he continued his predecessors' careful political reforms, while clamping down on popular protests with similar ferocity. Kim asserted civilian control over the military, and allowed the prosecution of his predecessors on allegations of corruption. He was barred by the Constitution from running for a second term, but his reputation was also shaken by the onset of the Asian economic crisis in 1997.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).


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