Park Geunhye is South Korea’s new president and has been sworn into office on February 25, 2013. The new president is facing a more complicated situation, both within South Korea and with North Korea, than what her father had faced during his Cold war dictatorship.
The 61-year-old Park is the first child of the former president to take power. She is also the first woman for a country where the Parliament, the cabinet and corporate rooms are dominated by males. Moreover, the gender income gap is the widest among the members of the countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Park, in her address, called for a revival of the economic boom that her father had once urged. She also asked North Korea to abandon their nuclear weapons program. After the ceremony, the motorcade of the president moved towards downtown Seoul, which was packed with well wishers.
The president’s return to the Blue House, which was her childhood home, was a triumphant moment for Park as well as old South Koreans, who were loyal to her father. Park was elected on December 19, 2012 and was supported largely by South Koreans in their 50’s and older. The US and other countries will hope that the new leadership will help ease tensions with North Korea and hopefully lead to peace in the region.