News Column

South Korea Elects First Woman President

Dec. 19, 2012

Park Geun Hye, daughter of former military strongman Park Chung Hee, won presidential elections on Wednesday, after banking on her reputation as one of South Korea's most influential conservative politicians.

The eldest daughter of the dictator who was in power from 1961 until his 1979 assassination, Park, 60, is currently serving her fifth term in the National Assembly.

She is a well established member of the ruling Saenuri Party, serving as chairwoman between March 2004 and June 2006, when the party still went by the name of the Grand National Party.

Following a crisis in the party, Park also headed its Emergency Response Commission from December 2011 to May 2012.

Known as the "queen of the elections," Park is unmarried. She is seen as intelligent and principled, although lacking her father's charisma.

She served as "first lady" from the age of 22 after her mother was killed in a failed 1974 assassination attempt on her father.

Park studied electrical engineering in Seoul.

She disappeared from public life for years following her father's assassination by his security chief in 1979.

She advocates an enlightened conservatism, backing greater social care from the state.

Park aims for a policy of mutual confidence-building with North Korea.

Source: Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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