1972 South Korean presidential election

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1972 South Korean presidential election

← 1971 23 December 1972 1978 →

2,359 Deputies of the Reunification Assembly
1,180 votes needed to win
  박정희 대통령 김영삼 신민당 총재 접견 (cropped).jpg
Nominee Park Chung-hee
Party Democratic Republican
Electoral vote 2,357

President before election

Park Chung-hee
Democratic Republican

Elected President

Park Chung-hee
Democratic Republican

Presidential elections were held in South Korea in December 1972 following the promulgation of the Yushin Constitution, which created the National Council for Reunification, a body whose functions included being an electoral college for presidential elections. Incumbent President Park Chung-hee claimed the Yushin system was an embodiment of the "Korean-style democracy" and that a fully democratic system would bring more chaos to the economically-struggling nation than it could afford, and therefore a strong, unchallenged presidency was needed to keep the country stable.[1]

The 2,359 deputies to the first National Council for Reunification were elected to their six-year term on 5 December 1972, with a voter turnout of 70%. All candidates were required to run as independents. The Constitution gave the body many powers, such as forming policies related to inter-Korean relationship, and determining the president as well as one-third of the National Assembly. However, the body was little more than a figurehead, as all of its actions were controlled by the president.[2]

The newly sworn-in deputies of the National Council for Reunification convened on 23 December to elect Park to a fourth term as president. With no opposition candidates, Park was elected with the support of 2,357 out of the 2,359 delegates.[3] The elections were regarded as a formality.[4]


In order to be elected, a candidate had to receive the vote of over 50% of the incumbent members of the National Council for Reunification. With 2,359 deputies in office, Park had to receive at least 1,180 votes to be elected. He received 2,357 votes, 99.92% of the total possible.

As there was only one candidate registered, the only way the deputies could vote against Park was by casting invalid ballots. One of the two deputies who did that, Song Dong-heon from Daejeon-1 District, revealed later in his life that he purposefully wrote "Park Chung-ee" instead of Park Chung-hee on his ballot in order to protest the dictatorial regime.[5]

Candidate Party Votes
Park Chung-hee Democratic Republican Party 2,357
Invalid/blank votes 2
Total 2,359


  1. ^ "주체사상과 한국적 민주주의는 왜 나왔을까 - 매일경제". mk.co.kr (in Korean). Retrieved 2019-03-29.
  2. ^ 기자, 김덕련 전 (2016-06-08). "99.9% 박정희 옹립한 북한식 거수기들, 그 실체는…". www.pressian.com (in Korean). Retrieved 2019-03-29.
  3. ^ Korea Annual, 1978. Hapdong News Agency. p. 51.
  4. ^ Shelley, B. (2005) Democratic Development in East Asia. Psychology Press. p. 78.
  5. ^ Song, Seong-bin. "Stories Behind 1972 Presidential Election: Indirect Election, Told By Then-Deputy Song Dong-heon." Study of Home Province, South Chungcheong Home Province Research Association.
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