South Korean President Moon Jae-in boards a flight at Seoul Air Base in Seongnam, South Korea, April 10, 2019 (AP photo by Lee Jin-man).

As South Korean President Moon Jae-in heads into his third year in office this week, he faces a familiar political burden. Ever since South Korea’s transition to democracy in the late 1980s, its presidents have been limited to a single five-year term. That stipulation in the constitution, which otherwise grants substantial political power to the presidency, was intended as a constraint on the executive branch following decades of authoritarian rule. It also tends to cause the rapid onset of lame-duck syndrome, as most modern-day South Korean presidents see an average decline in both approval ratings and political capital over the […]