Supreme Council for National Reconstruction

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Supreme Council for National Reconstruction
1280px-Flag of the chairman of the Supreme Council for National Reconstruction.svg.png
Fullname: Supreme Council for National Reconstruction
Alias: SCNR
Origin: South Korea
Foundation: May 16, 1961
Headquarters: Seoul, South Korea
Commanders: Chang Do-yong (1961)
Park Chung-hee (1961 - 1963)
Goals: Retain military rule over South Korea (failed)

The Supreme Council for National Reconstruction (Korean: 국가재건최고회의) was the ruling military junta of South Korea from May 1961 to December 1963 after overthrowing President Syngman Rhee.

The Supreme Council overthrew the Second Republic of Korea in the May 16 coup in May 1961 and established a provisional military government composed largely of officers who were involved in or supportive of the coup. The Supreme Council was headed by the Chairman, the de facto head of government with dictatorial powers, while President Yun Posun was retained as a figurehead.

The Supreme Council prioritized South Korea's economic development and political stability, suspending the National Assembly and most political freedoms, and founding the Korean Central Intelligence Agency to combat pro-North Korean and other anti-government activity. Park Chung-hee served as Chairman of the Supreme Council from July 1961 until his victory in the 1963 South Korean presidential election, and the Supreme Council was dissolved upon the inauguration of the Third Republic of Korea in December 1963.

Background

On May 16, 1961, the military seized power through a carefully engineered coup d’état, ushering in a new phase of postliberation Korean politics. The military junta, led by General Park Chung-Hee, took over the government machinery, dissolved the National Assembly, and imposed a strict ban on political activity. The country was placed under martial law, and the Supreme Council for National Reconstruction (SCNR), headed by Park, took the reins of government and began instituting a series of reforms.

In November 1962 the SCNR made public a constitutional amendment bill that provided for a strong president and a weak, single-chamber National Assembly. The bill was approved by a national referendum one month later. A series of events unfolded in the first half of 1963.

In May 1961, the junta declared "Pledges of the Revolution": anticommunism was to be the nation's main policy; friendly relations would be strengthened with allies of the free world, notably the United States; all corruption and government misdeed would be disposed and "fresh and clean morality" would be introduced; the reconstruction of a self-reliant economy would be priority; the nation's ability would be nurtured to fight against communism and achieve reunification; and that government would be returned to a democratic civilian government within two years.

In February Park announced that he would not take part in the civilian government to be formed later in the year if civilian political leaders chose to uphold a nine-point “political stabilization proposal.” However, as a result of bitter turbulence within the ruling junta and a chaotic situation created by the proliferation of minor political parties, Park soon changed his mind and proposed that military rule be extended for four years. The proposal met vigorous opposition from civilian political leaders, but some 160 military commanders, most of them generals, supported the extension.

In April, Park, under considerable domestic and international pressure (particularly from the United States), announced a plan for holding elections toward the end of the year. Park was named presidential candidate of the newly formed Democratic Republican Party (DRP) in late May.