SCopy No. J
BACKGROUND FOR ELECTIONS IN SOUTH KOREA
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CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
OFFICE OF CURRENT INTELLIGENCE
BACKGROUND FOR ELECTIONS IN SOUTH KOREA
Tho mood of present-day South Korean politico la rooted In Korea's long history of resistance to foreign domination and tbe adherence of the people to Confucian social values that tend to emphaaiae personal sod family tlaa to ths detriment of the national lotereot. The resulting combination of lotenas national pride and ferocious factionalism has earned the Koreans their reputation as the Irish of the Orient. Since the founding of the republic Insost political questions hare centered essentially on tbe issue of the "outs" versus tbend political loyalties have been given to individual leaders rather than to parties and platforss. Although tbe preseot opposition has introduced soio Ideological overtones,residential election and tbeovember National Assembly elections are no exception to the Korean ru Is. l_
Junta leader Pak Cboag-huiationalist, suspicious of US policy toward Korea. rief period after World War II he probablyommunist, but his outlook appears to be more Influenced by tbe example of Naslr and Sukarno than by dootrinalro Marxist socialism. The two main themes of bis presidential campaign have been partially veiled anti-American-ism aad, implicitly, an advocacy of oeutrallam. At the same time he has assured tbe public that American aid to Korea would continue if be is elected.
Pak'a power dependson his ability to keep tbe armed forced behind him. His regimeoalition of three more or lesa clearly defined] military power The domloant one at prea-ent is made up of the follower*
of former security chief Kim Chong-pll. Kim is particularly well situated to hold Pak's confidence because of bisto Pak's niece, who lived in Pak'a home after her father's death
esult of Pak'ssupport, Kim's clique controls the national security apparatua, holds strategic poal-tlona in the revolutionary council and in key government agencies, and ruoa the regime-sponsored Democratic-Republican Party. Sometimes described as "angry younghe members of the clique are mostly young colonela who sbare Kim's anti-American, nationalist, quasi-leftist leaninge. They are determined to use whatever means are neceasary totbe power of the regime.
The second factioo behind Pak is usually called the anti-Kim
faction or thahey, like Kin's followers, are composed mainly of members of the group that Drought off1 coup, but are generally less extreme in their actions and views. The unifying force among the 'moderates" is hatred of Kim. esult, some of these "los" have wound up in jail; others are still in the Liberal-Democratic Party, which they founded in the hope that Pak would adopt it as his own; and still others bave stayed in tbe regime's camp.
The third group ls too large and amorphous to beaction, but itistinct element in the power equation. It consists of the broad range of senior and junior officers on active duty whotable government and basicallythat the armed forces should stay out of politics. They are committed to Pakat present they see do attractive alternative, and they probably will ensure that the army votes for him. They, too, however, hate and fear Kim.
Those who looked to the civilian politicians toonstructive alternative to Pak and the Junta have been disillusioned. Almost as soon as tbe regime lifted itsoo political activity last April, all the oldpersonal-Interest grouping, and individual
attempts tocontrol of politicalreappeared. It was almost as if there had neverilitarytwoalf years ago.
Host of the leading and many of the minor separate and competing partiesYun Po-son founded the Civil Rule Party, former prime minister Pyon Yong-tae Instituted the Righteous People's Society, one-time Racial Youth Corps leader and former Rhee hatchet man Yi Pom-sok established the People's Partners Party, In all. IS opposition parties wereindeed with tho clandestineof thewhich aimed to help keep thodivided.
In-other instances sub-faction leaders remained with their oldwhile their immediateJoined theParty, which the regime
"moderates" had organized aa aa alternative1 to Kin Chong-pil'e Democratic-Republican Party. After Pak repudiated tbe Liberal-Denocrata, former regime prlne Ministor Song Yo-chan. who bad been jailed for criticizing Pak, accepted that party'a prealdentlal nomination. Moat of the politicians appear to be trying to cover all posalble beta to improve theirpower with one another or with tbe regime.
Bo Choag, one of the most respected of tbe old politicians, organized tbe People's Party ln an attempt to unify tbe major opposition groupa. However, three successive sessionsoint convention of tbree of tbe four leadlog parties called to rally support for Ho ended in wild disorder, mainlyof the inability of the leaders to bury their faotional differences and personal Supporters of former president Tun first deadlocked the convention and then walked out rather than concede the nomination to Ho.
Ho and Yun are fairly typical of the old-lineand illustrate both their virtues and limitations. Ho has considerable popularbaaedeputation for honesty and ability- Heormer lieutenant of Sysgnan Rbee who broke with Rnee after serving as prime minister. He warn mayor of Seoul79 and headed the provisional government that
took over after Rhee's ouster
Yun ia the grandson ofaat war minister of Korea'a Yl dyoaaty. Hla family la tbe only one of the old arlatocratic bouaea to aurvive the years of Japanese occupation, dlvlaloo of the country, and tbe Korean War with much of ita wealth and position intact. Like Ho, he first served under Rhee and later broke with fain. He has been sinister of commerce and induatry, mayor of Seoul, national assemblyman.ally after Rhee's ousteraoffice at the tine. He' was still ln this office when Pak and tbe Junta seized power ln
At tbe time, Too, as chief of state could have attempted to call on loyal forces to save Prime Minister Chang Myon's administration. Instead, he did nothing ln the expectation that the juota would call hla own group to power. He realgned as President only when Itapparent that Pak bad no intention of issuing such aa iBVltatiOB.
Following the struggle between Ho and Yun, four more opposition candidatesregistered to oppose Pak for president. Although Ho and another leading contender bave alnce withdrawn, virtually turning thewo-man racaPak and Yun. Itnot
clear oven yet that thowill necessarily rally to Yun. Ho reportedly intend* to stirew scandal byaccusing one of tbe seniorof Yun's party olregime money tofact ionallsm.
The atmosphere of tbe elec-tlons has been set by thelnatloo of the regime to elect Pak president regardless of opposition, and by theattempt to goad the regime into such extremes of repression that there would be mass revulsion againat it at homeew wave ofabroad.
The campaign thus hasprogressively dirtier and more bitter. Increasingly largo crowds have turned out to hear Pak and his opponents exchange charges and Yunttacks on Pak lo particular has attracted growing public attention. Yun has publicized corruption in the military government and waved the bloody shirt of Pak's Communist background. Pak has accused Yun and tho other leaders of being American puppets who In the past sold out Korea's best interests for personal gain.
Pak baa come all out as the friend and protector of the farmer, hoping that he can carry enough of the country's predominantly rural population to make up for his probable
lossoa In the cltlea, where the votera tend to oppoae tbe party in powerof its Pak'shave revived all the old practices of Rhee's day for curryingwith the farmershaveparties forelderly, sent sympathy messages and made donations at funerals, given wedding presents, and even handed out free socks, shoes, and towels. For tho first time in recent memory, government-suppliedhas consistently arrived on time for tbe rice planting. Government money has been spentassive scale for pork-barrel projects, and US surplus grain is being distributed under party auaplces in plentiful amounts to those who declare theirfor Pak.
Theparty has been welland financed to support this effort. ecan localla strictly controlled by national bead-quarters. Former member's of
South Korea's CentralAgency, whom Kin Chong-pil took with him when he resigned as Its boss to organize the party, have supervised the selection of key local.
The opposition has no such Impressive machine. Its Local offices, where they exist at all, areelding of remnants of the localof the prerevolutioh parties. Local leaders often have appeared to be mora occupied with internecine fights for control of the local party apparatus than with the campaign against Pak.
While the opposition has had to depend on the personal fuods of its members, plus some help from sympathetic businessmen,funds have come not only fromorariety of illegal transactions sanctioned by the government. In one instance, tbe partyreceived0 from the sale of cement that the regime allowed to enter the country tax free. Thealso reportedly got the profits from some onealf million dollars' worth of wheat illegally Imported for tbe production of alcohol. In other cases It has profited from estate transactions and kickbacks from businessmen who have received favoredtreatment.
Pak nevertheless is aware that too blatant rigging of
' tbe elections and tbe use of strong-arm tactics could bringeaction like0 student uprisiDg against Syngman Rhee. The troops did not fire on the populace then to save Rhee and it is questionable whether they would do so now to save Pak.
To avoid sucb anPak bas restrained Kim Chong-pil's group from the harsh repressive measures it would like to employ to silence opposition leaders. Government officials have been instructed to prosecute election violationsighly selective basis, and the police have been ordered to avoid strong-arm tactics. Even the press is beinga measure of freedom.
The Voters' Reaction
Confrontedombination of money and administrative pressures, many farmers may vote for Pak, either because they see him as no worse than any other political Leader or because they do not think it prudent toote against the man In power. As one farmer has explained it to an American observer, he was unsure whether he was expected to vote for the government's candidate or whether he would be allowed free choice. Be hoped it was tbe Latter, but he said he would uncomplainingly vote as directed If told to do so. Vltb the rural voters comprising two thirds of the electorate, Pak's chances thus would seem good,
Thessemblymay provo morefor the regime's organizers to manage. Pak has privately expressed concern over the possibility that tbe government party sight notajority of Assembly seats. In tbe cities, public opiolon in all classes ls outspokenly critical of Pak and the junta. In some rural districts, which could be expected to lean toward Pak ln the presidential race, regime assembly candidates will be up agalost opponents with strong local ties. The farmers remenber the names of their former assemblymen and. Judging from past electlona, will often vote for the candidate who bas demonstrated bis loyalty to local interests do matter bow corrupt or otherwise unedlfylng his activities might be on the national level. In other cases the villagers are likely to follow the traditional pattern ofember of tbe leading family ln their
community, who night or might notood regime supporter.
The nost Important electoral question Id South Korea,ay well be not who technically wins, but whether theparticularly the Nationalballoting sixituationthe regime and the city crowds bave aootber violent confrontation. Tbe opposition speakers and pamphleteers are striking ever more sensitive nerves among the juntaand the more the laaue steal doubtful, the more Klm'a group will be tempted to stamp out criticism rather than toit. Violence may breed coun-tervlolence, and even Pak might finally be forced to drop the pretense that hla reginegenuine popular support and to return to outrightrule. (CONFIDENTIAL NO rOREIGN DIS3KM)