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International Review of Administrative Sciences 81 4 , , State and civil society in South Korea's democratic consolidation: is the battle really over?


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S Kim Asian Survey 37 12 , , Civil society and democratization S Kim Korean society, , Democratization and environmentalism: South Korea and Taiwan in comparative perspective S Kim Journal of Asian and African studies 35 3 , , Korea became the first new democracy in Asia where a horizontal transfer of power occurred through the electoral process.

Sunhyuk Kim's study of democratization in Korea argues that the momentum for political change in Korea has consistently emanated from oppositional civil society rather than from the state.

Women's role in the democratization of South Korea - Wikipedia

He develops a civil society paradigm and utilizes Korea's three authoritarian breakdowns only two of which resulted in democratic transitions to illustrate the past and present influences of Korean civil society groups on authoritarian breakdowns, democratic transitions, and post-transition democratic consolidations. One of the first systematic attempts to apply a civil society framework to a democratizing country in East Asia, The Politics of Democratization in Korea will be of use to political scientists and advanced undergraduate and graduate students working in comparative politics, political theory, East Asian politics, and the politics of democratization.


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First, I discuss the role of civil society in a democratic transition to clarify the broader political configuration in Indonesia. Second, the emergence of current President Joko Widodo Jokowi , a product of democratic reform, is discussed in relation to recent developments in civil society.

Third, focusing on the political zigzag around the law used for the direct election of regional heads, I clarify how civil society contributes to retaining institutional reforms.

In this case, the demands of civil society were very clear and placed pressure on the political elite. Analyzing these cases, I show conditions where the demands of civil society were realized.

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The dramatic showdown in Jakarta in May was not dissimilar from those that occurred on stage or backstage in Cairo in February Students led a rally to demand reformasi reformation and occupied the parliament building before toppling President Suharto, who had ruled for more than 30 years. Backstage, the military ditched the dictator and in the end, delivered an ultimatum.

Middle Class, Civil Society and Democracy in Asia

There was close communication between student activists and the political elite, including military generals and ruling party politicians. Muslim student organizations were particularly important in connecting student activists on the streets with their alumni in parliament. This active involvement of Muslim activists in the ruling party became apparent around That is, Golkar had been gradually Islamized, or become at least less secular.

Consequently, these civil society organizations CSOs were not fully detached from the authoritarian regime. This physical and ideological closeness between the former political elite and CSOs brought about a relatively smooth transition in Indonesia. Some of the members of the CSOs became politicians after the transition.

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Leaders of two major Muslim organizations, Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, formed political parties. Although coalitions have not always been stable and criticism of the government often appeared within the coalitions, the conflicts among political parties were generally settled by backdoor negotiations; others have drifted, even if not resolved by legal or judicial procedures.


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The military gave up appointed seats in the House, but some retired generals joined political parties and retained informal influence. Differences between Islamic and secular parties barely matter. Good or bad, the Indonesian political changes were not dramatic. Continuity of the old and new political elites, their ideological affinity, and closeness between the elite and CSOs made it easier to reach consensus on gradual democratic reforms.

These situations contrast the polarization and tensions in countries such as Egypt and Thailand, where conflicts between the old and new ruling elites could not be resolved following formal procedures, and where military coups rejected popularly elected governments.