Moo-hyun Roh


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Kim Dae-Jung (1924—2009)


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President of South Korea, 2003–8 Born in Gimhae, he studied law and became a district court judge. He opened his own law firm, and became a human rights lawyer. He entered parliament for Kim Dae Jung's Millennium Democratic Party (MDP), and succeeded Kim as President. In his first months of office, Roh appeared as indecisive and inept. Following corruption charges against the main parties, the MDP split, with some of Roh's supporters founding a new party, Uri. With only a small parliamentary base, the President was powerless against a parliamentary motion to unseat him. This did not receive the required assent of the Constitutional Court, however. Following popular outrage against parliament's action, the Uri party was returned with an overall parliamentary majority in 2004.

He initiated further meetings with North Korea but then disappointed many in his party by sending South Korean troops to Iraq, in 2007. Seen as a liability, the centre-left lost the presidential election and the conservative, Lee Myung-bak, became president in 2008. In 2009 Roh was implicated in a corruption scandal and committed suicide.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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