Presidential Election! What is different between United States and South Korea?


In 1913, on June the 4th, Emily Wilding Davison threw herself under King George V’s horse at the Epson Derby. She suffered injuries that proved fatal four days later. With sacrificing her life, what she hoped for was “Votes for Women.” Why had she been so anxious to vote?

The United States’ presidential election will be held on November 8. It is taking center stage under the international spotlight. Why do people all around the world act crazy at presidential elections? Why is presidential election so important?

The presidential election has a long history. The election is the most important way for citizens to practice democracy. It needed a lot of people’s efforts to achieve today’s electoral system. To vote in the election is our right. It also represents our future.

Last spring, I voted for the first time in my life. I was voting for National Assembly elections, not presidential election. Believing my one vote will lead to a better country, I thoroughly looked into my region’s candidates and their pledges and policies. I was proud of myself for voting. Even though I don’t practice politics, the fact that I can choose leaders who will lead my country gave me a feeling that I am a master of the country.

Now, I am watching the presidential election in United States and it was really interesting to find differences of elections between United States and South Korea. The election formats of the two are different, even though both the United States and South Korea are adapting electoral system under democratic countries. Let’s look at big differences in detail!


First of all, the biggest difference in the two is whether nations vote directly or not. The election of the United States is an indirect election in which citizens of the United States who are registered to vote cast ballots for a set of members of the United States Electoral College, known as electors. Then, electors cast direct votes for president. On the other hand, the election of South Korea is a direct election which voters who meet the age requirements directly cast ballots for president that they desire to see elected. Some people may think direct election would be more democratic system in that it is directly related to citizen’s decisions. However, the reason the United States adopted an indirect election originated from the federal government. For the United States, which is a federal state, an indirect election is meaningful in that it guarantees right of the states with a small population and respects the diversity of the states.

Secondly, the United States has a two party system while South Korea has a multi party system. A two party system is where only two major political parties dominate politics within a government. A multi party system is a party system where multiple parties have the capacity to gain control of government offices. Which system is better, a two party system or a multi party system? In a two party system, people can make more clarified policy decisions and achieve better accountability since there are only two conflicting parties. However, there are some drawbacks that it can limit the nation’s choice and ignore minority opinion. On the contrary, in a multi party system, there are a lot of choices for nations and the processing of reflections for public opinion is fast. However, it can cause destabilization of the political situation and make it difficult to undertake the responsibility.

Thirdly, there are differences between presidential term limits. The presidential system in United States has a four year, two term presidential system. It allows the president to seek re-relection. However, South Korea’s presidential system has a five year, single term presidential system which restricts the presidential term to only one. Allowing a two term presidency will give presidents more time to achieve their long term goals. But there are historical backgrounds why South Korea restricts the presidential term. In the beginning of South Korea’s presidential period, the dictator’s long hold on power caused political corruption. Citizens of South Korea had to fight for democratic change and the single term presidential system is result of democratization.


For a long time, citizens of both countries have been thinking of ways to fit a proper presidential system to their country. The systems of presidential election between two countries have many different points. However, each of presidential system has advantages and disadvantages. Also, a big purpose for making a better country by electing a better president is the same! These days, two countries are concerned about the lack of voting and the decline in political participation. However, we should remember that voting is the result of people’s fight to right ant vote is the way to change the country. Cast your vote and your precious ballot will make the world different!