South Korea now has its first female president, who is the daughter of their most notorious military dictator. Park Geun-hye manage to fight a very strong opposition to take the reigns on December 19, 2012.

Geun-hye is the first female president of South Korea since the country became a democratic state in 1987. The campaign was  a hard-fought one, with more than three quarters of all voters turning up to cast their votes. These numbers have swollen since the last election in 2007, where only two thirds of eligible voters turned up to cast ballots.

Park Geun-hye’s mother Yuk Young-soo was assassinated in 1974, which saw her become the first lady to Park Chung-Hee, who was her father. She was known as ‘Madam Park’ and served in parliament for two decades. The 60-year-old was then picked by the Right-wing New Frontier Party as their presidential candidate. Moon Jae-In, who was Geun-hye’s opponent in this election was previously a presidential aide.

Park’s journey to the top, although difficult, was aided by the fact that her father’s (General Park) 18-year reign as the country’s dictator put South Korea on the map economically, making it the fourth-largest economy in Asia.

South Korea has a set of challenged ahead of it which will need addressing sooner rather than later. China is trying to dominate the Asian landscape and North Korea continues to be a thorn in its neighbors side. It remains to be seen how well the new president will cope with these, among other issues.


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