Hwang Kyo-ahn (South Korea)

Reference work entry


Hwang Kyo-ahn was named prime minister by President Park Geun-hye in May 2016. On 9 Dec. 2016 he became acting president after Park stepped aside to face impeachment proceedings. Hwang is a former justice minister who served as a public prosecutor for almost 30 years.

Early Life

Hwang Kyo-ahn was born on 15 April 1957. He graduated in 1981 from the College of Law at Sungkyunkwan University, earning his master’s degree in law from the same institution in 2006.

Hwang began his career in 1983 as a public prosecutor in the Cheongju District Prosecutors’ Office. He went on to serve in further public prosecution roles until 2011. He specialized in national security law, a focus that drew criticism from opposition and civil rights groups.

In 2011 he went into private practice with the firm Bae Kim & Lee, and also served as chairman of the Election Broadcast Deliberation Committee. In 2013 he was appointed minister of justice and was instrumental the following year in a government motion to outlaw the leftist Unified Progressive Party, which was accused of pro-North Korean views. In May 2015 Hwang was nominated as premier, a largely ceremonial role, by President Park and was sworn in the following month.

Career Peak

Despite having been the longest serving minister in Park’s administration, Hwang was dismissed as prime minister in Nov. 2016 as the president sought to restore confidence in her administration in the face of a corruption scandal. Nonetheless, he remained in office as a replacement could not be agreed upon. In Dec. Park was suspended from office to face impeachment proceedings following a parliamentary vote and Hwang duly became acting president as well as prime minister.

After confirmation by the Constitutional Court of Park’s impeachment in March 2017, presidential elections held on 9 May were won by Moon Jae-in. He succeeded Hwang as president the following day. On 11 May Yoo II-ho became acting prime minister.

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© Springer Nature Limited 2019

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