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New Boss Lady

February 16, 2013

Germany – Merkel
Korea – Park
USA – Clinton (2016)

Park Geun-hye

This is a Korean name; the family name is Park.
Park Geun-hye
박근혜

11th President of South Korea

Elect
Taking office
25 February 2013
Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik
Succeeding Lee Myung-bak
Leader of the Saenuri Party
In office
17 December 2011 – 15 May 2012
Preceded by Hong Jun-pyo
Succeeded by Hwang Woo-yea
In office
23 March 2004 – 10 July 2006
Preceded by Choe Byeong-ryeol
Succeeded by Kang Jae-sup
First Lady of South Korea
In office
16 August 1974 – 26 October 1979
President Park Chung-hee
Preceded by Yuk Young-soo
Succeeded by Hong Gi
Member of the National Assembly
In office
30 May 2012 – 10 December 2012
Constituency Proportional Representation No. 11
In office
3 April 1998 – 29 May 2012
Preceded by Kim Suk-won
Succeeded by Lee Jong-jin
Constituency Dalseong
Personal details
Born 2 February 1952 (age 61)
Daegu, South Korea
Political party Saenuri Party
Alma mater Sogang University
University of Grenoble
Religion Buddhism[citation needed]
Signature
Park Geun-hye
Hangul 박근혜
Hanja 朴槿惠
Revised Romanization Bak Geunhye
McCune–Reischauer Pak Kŭnhye
Dharma name
Hangul 선덕화[citation needed]
Hanja 善德華[citation needed]
Revised Romanization Seondeokhwa[citation needed]
McCune–Reischauer Sŏndŏkhwa[citation needed]
Park Geun-hye (Hangul: 박근혜; Korean pronunciation: [pakk͈ɯnh(j)e]; born 2 February 1952) is the president-elect of South Korea following the presidential election on 19 December 2012. She will be the first female and the 11th president of South Korea (serving the 18th presidential term).[1] She was the chairwoman of the conservative Grand National Party (GNP) between 2004 and 2006 and between 2011 and 2012 (the GNP changed its name to “Saenuri Party” in February 2012). Park is a member of the Korean National Assembly, and had served four consecutive parliamentary terms as a constituency representative between 1998 and 2012; starting her fifth term as a proportional representative from June 2012. Her father was Park Chung-hee, President of South Korea from 1963 to 1979. She is generally considered to be one of the most influential politicians in Korea since the presidencies of the two Kims: Kim Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung.[2]

Early life and education

Park was born on 2 February 1952, in Samdeok-dong of Jung-gu, Daegu, as the first child of Park Chung-hee, the 3rd president of South Korea who served between 1963 and 1979, and Yuk Young-soo. She has a younger brother, Park Ji-man, and a younger sister, Park Seoyeong. Park has never been married.

In 1953, her family moved to Seoul and she graduated from Seoul’s Jangchung Elementary School and Sungshim (literal: Sacred Heart) Girls’ Middle & High School in 1970, going on to receive a bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering from Sogang University in 1974. She also briefly studied at the University of Grenoble, but left France following the death of her mother.

Park received honorary doctoral degrees from the Chinese Culture University, in Taiwan in 1987; Pukyong National University and KAIST in 2008; and Sogang University in 2010.

Tenure as First Lady

Park’s mother was assassinated in the National Theater of Korea, Seoul, by Mun Se-gwang, a Japanese-born North Korean assassin, and a member of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, under the direction of the North Korean government on 15 August 1974.[3] She was regarded as first lady until 1979 when her father was also assassinated–by his own intelligence chief, Kim Jae-gyu, on 26 October 1979. During this time, activists who were political opponents of her father, claimed to be subject to arbitrary detention. Further, human rights were considered subordinate to economic development.[4] In 2007 Park expressed regret at the treatment of activists during this period.[5]

Political career

Assemblywoman

Park was elected a Grand National Party (GNP) assemblywoman for Dalseong, Daegu, in 1998 by-election, and three more times in the same electoral district between 1998 and 2008, being the incumbent assemblywoman till April 2012. In 2012, Park announced that she would not run for a constituency representative seat for the 19th election in Dalseong or anywhere else, but for a proportional representative position for the Saenuri Party instead, in order to lead the party’s election campaign.[1] She was elected as a proportional representative in the April 2012 election.

GNP chairwoman and “Queen of Elections”

Due to the failed attempt to impeach President Roh Moo-hyun, and the bribery scandal of its 2002 presidential candidate, Lee Hoi-chang (revealed in 2004), the GNP was facing a severe defeat in the 2004 general election. Park was appointed as the chairwoman of the party and led the election efforts. In the election, the GNP lost its majority position, but managed to gain 121 seats, which is largely considered a great achievement under such inhospitable circumstances for the party.[6][7] As the chairwoman of the GNP, Park helped her party make significant gains in local elections and actually obtain a majority in 2006.

During the campaign on 20 May 2006, Ji Chung-ho, a 50-year-old criminal with eight previous convictions, slashed Park’s face with a utility knife, causing an 11-centimeter wound on her face, requiring 60 stitches and several hours of surgery.[8][9] A famous anecdote from this incident occurred when Park was hospitalized after the attack. The first word that she said to her secretary after her recovery from her wound was “How is Daejeon?” After this, the candidate from the Grand National Party won the election for the mayor of city of Daejeon despite having trailed by more than 20 percentage points in opinion polls up to the point of the attack.[citation needed] In addition, during Park’s term as the GNP chairwoman between 2004 and 2006, the party won all 40 reelections and by-elections held, which was largely credited to Park’s influence and efforts.[10][11] This feat gave Park a nickname “Queen of Elections”.

On 12 February 2007, Park made a much-publicized visit to Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. Her visit culminated in an address to a packed audience at the Kennedy School of Government, where she said she wanted to “save” Korea and advocated a stronger relationship between South Korea and the United States.[12][13]

2007 Presidential bid

Park hoped to emulate her father’s success by becoming the presidential nominee of the Grand National Party.[14] She eventually lost to Lee Myung-bak by a narrow margin. Lee had a commanding lead at the beginning of the primary season, but Park was able to narrow the gap through allegations of Lee’s corruption. Park won the “party member’s bid”, but she lost the “national bid” which is a larger percentage of the total presidential bid.

2008 general election

After the 2007 presidential election, President Lee Myung-bak formed a government of mostly close supporters.[15] Park’s supporters argued that this was a kind of political reprisal, and that they should secede from the Grand National Party. [16] Eventually, they formed parties named Pro-Park Coalition and Solidarity for Pro-Park Independents (친박 무소속 연대; Chin Park Musosok Yeondae). Park herself did not join them, but indirectly supported them by announcing “I hope these people to come back alive”. After the mass secession, the rebels announced that they would rejoin GNP after the general election, but the GNP prohibited it. In the following 2008 general election, the rebels won 26 seats: 14 from the Pro-Park Coalition and 12 as independents. Together, they played a pivotal role in the GNP’s narrow majority. Park continually insisted that GNP should allow the return of her supporters. As of 2011, most of these rebels had returned to the GNP, resulting in approximately 50 to 60 assembly members who support Park out of 171 in the GNP.

Head of Saenuri Party

Park in 2011
As a response to the dwindling approval rating of the GNP, the party formed an emergency committee and changed the name of the political party from the Grand National Party to the Saenuri Party, meaning “New Frontier” Party.[1] On 19 December 2011, Park was appointed as the chairwoman of GNP’s Emergency Committee, the de facto leader of the party.

2012 parliamentary election

The Saenuri Party achieved a surprise win against the opposing Democratic United Party in the 2012 General Election, winning 152 seats and retaining its majority position. Because of the corruption scandals of the Lee administration revealed before the election, the Saenuri Party was widely expected to win no more than 100 seats.[17] During the 13-day campaign period, Park traveled about 7200 km around South Korea, visiting more than 100 constituencies.[18] It is the consensus of Korean news media and political experts that the most important factor which led to Saenuri Party’s victory was Park’s leadership. For this reason, the 2012 election was often dubbed the “return of the Queen of Election”.[17][19] Saenuri’s defeat in the populous Seoul metropolitan area in this election, however, revealed the limitation of Park’s political influence.[17]

2012 presidential campaign

Main article: South Korean presidential election, 2012
Park has been the leading candidate for the 2012 presidential election in every national-level poll in South Korea between 2008, when Lee Myung-bak administration began, and September 2011, with an approval rating of 25% to 45%, more than twice that of the second candidate. Park’s approval rating was highest when 2008 National Assembly election showed her strong influence and lowest in early 2010 as a result of her political stance against Lee administration in Sejong City issue.[20] In September 2011, Ahn Cheol-soo, a former venture IT businessman and the Dean of Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology at Seoul National University, emerged as a strong independent candidate for presidency. In national-level presidential polls in September 2011, Ahn and Park Geun Hye closely competed for the status of front-runner, with Park losing the top seat in some polls for first time since 2008.[21]

After her victory in 2012 General Election, Park’s approval rating increased significantly. In a national-level survey by Mono Research in 30 August, [22] Park was the top presidential candidate with the approval rating of 45.5% when competing with all potential candidates, and according to another recent national survey result, had a higher approval rating (50.6%) than Ahn (43.9%) in a two-way competition with him as of 11 September. [23] On 10 July, Park formally announced her 2012 presidential bid at the Time Square, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul. In this event she emphasized the right to pursue happiness, democratic economy, and customized welfare services for Korean people. [24]

The opposing Democratic Party elected Moon Jae-in as its presidential candidate on 17 September. And Ahn announced his presidential bid on 19 September. Although still a leading candidate, in two-way competitions Park had lower approval ratings against Ahn’s and against Moon’s according to a 22 September national survey. [25] She was elected as the President of Republic of Korea in 19 December, 2012 with the approval of 51.6% of the Korean people.

Political positions

In a 2012 survey by Korean Research which assessed the political stance of 12 potential presidential candidates of South Korea, Park was considered the most conservative candidate.[26][1] Her conservative, market-oriented political stance was well reflected in her campaign pledge for 2008 presidential bid to cut taxes, reduce regulation, and establish strong law and order.[27] Since 2009, however, Park started to focus more on welfare issues, advocating customized welfare services to Korean people.[27]

Park is well known for her strict, no-compromise adherence to political promises. In 2010, for example, she successfully stopped Lee Administration’s attempt to cancel the plan to establish Sejong City, a new national center of administration, arguing the plan was a promise made to people. This conflict between Park and Lee Administration cost her a considerable decrease in her approval rating at the time.[28] In 2012, Park also vowed to construct a new airport in the southeastern region, a 2008 presidential campaign promise made by GNP but cancelled in 2011, despite claims of economic infeasibility of the plan.[29]

Criticism

What do you get when crossing a penis, potato and vagina?

(ans. below)
The “daughter of a dictator”

Park had been often criticized for being the “daughter of a dictator (Park Chung-hee)”[30][31] and for not actively supporting the Lee administration by supporters of Lee Myung-bak. A national-level poll conducted in July 2012 by a conservative newspaper reported that 59.2% of participants responded they did not believe Park was a “daughter of a dictator” while 35.5% responded otherwise. [32]

During a recent interview with the Cheongju broadcast station, Park commented regarding her stance that her father’s May 16 coup was a “revolution to save the country” by stating, “I don’t think it’s the place of politicians to be fighting over whether [the events of 1961] were a ‘coup d’etat’ or a ‘revolution’”.[33] In a July 2012 survey, 49.9% of respondents answered that they disagreed with Park’s assessment that her father’s 1961 coup was “unavoidable, the best possible choice, and an advisable decision,” as opposed to 37.2% that agreed.[34]

Bu-il foundation accusations

Park has faced much scrutiny over an educational foundation, Jeongsoo Scholarship Foundation, formerly known as Buil (in reference to the stock it controls in the newspaper “Busan Ilbo”), which her father, and later, she headed. Its original owners claimed in court they were forced to turn it over to her father.[35]

Party criticism

A Saenuri Party assemblyman Nam Gyeong-pil criticized the Park-centered nature of the party, regarding its preparation for the 2012 presidential election, and stated, “If we keep seeing the same situation where Park Geun-hye gives a press conference before a general meeting of lawmakers is held, and what she says then gets decided on as the party’s position, then the public is going to think democracy has disappeared from the party”.

Furthermore, some have said Park’s behavior in the lead-up to 2012 presidential election was a mixture of trend-following and corner-cutting—a stark contrast with the vehement insistence on principle that she showed when she opposed a revision of the plan for a multifunctional administrative city in Sejong City. For instance, Yim Tae-hee, another presidential candidate of the party, pointed to Park’s voting down of a motion to arrest Chung Doo-un, a law maker implicated with bribery related to saving banks. Another candidate, Ahn Sang-soo, accused Park of “saying one thing yesterday and another today.”[36]

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HideElectoral history

National Assembly races (1998 to present)

1998

15th National Assembly of the Republic of Korea elections, 1998 by-election, Dalseong, Daegu [37]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Grand National Park Geun-hye 28,937 51.5%
Democratic Eom Sam-tak 16,355 29.1%
Totals 45,292 100.0%
Grand National hold
2000

16th National Assembly of the Republic of Korea elections, 2000, Dalseong, Daegu [38]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Grand National Park Geun-hye 37,805 61.4%
Democratic Eom Sam-tak 23,744 37.8%
Totals 62,738 100.0%
Grand National hold
2004

17th National Assembly of the Republic of Korea elections, 2004, Dalseong, Daegu[38]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Grand National Park Geun-hye 45,298 70.0%
Uri Yun Yong-hui 15,014 22.9%
Democratic Labor Heo Gyeong-do 4,367 6.6%
Totals 65,633 100.0%
Grand National hold
2008

18th National Assembly of the Republic of Korea elections, 2008, Dalseong, Daegu[39]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Grand National Park Geun-hye 50,149 88.57%
Democratic Labor No Yun-jo 5,080 8.97%
PUFP Im Jung-heon 1,386 2.44%
Totals 57,416 100.0%
Grand National hold
2012

19th National Assembly of the Republic of Korea elections, 2012, Proportional Representative[40][41]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Saenuri Park Geun-hye 9,324,911 42.8%
Saenuri hold
Presidential (2012)

e • d Summary of the 19 December 2012 South Korean presidential election results
Candidate Party Votes %
Park Geun-hye Saenuri Party 15,773,128 51.55

Moon Jae-in Democratic United Party 14,692,632 48.02

Kang Ji-won Independent 53,303 0.17

Kim Soon-ja Independent 46,017 0.15

Kim So-yeon Independent 16,687 0.05

Park Jong-sun Independent 12,854 0.04

Invalid/blank votes 126,838 –
Total 30,721,459 100
Registered voters/turnout 40,507,842 75.84
Source: National Election Commission
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HidePublications

Books

(in Korean) 절망은 나를 단련시키고 희망은 나를 움직인다 [Despair Trains Me and Hope Moves Me]. Wisdom House. July 2007. ISBN 89-6086-033-6.
(in Korean) 나의 어머니 육영수 [My mother, Yuk Young-soo]. People&People. January 2001. ISBN 89-85541-54-4.
(in Korean) 결국 한 줌, 결국 한 점 [In the End Only a Fistful, One Speck]. Busan Ilbo Books. October 1998. ISBN 89-87236-25-0.
(in Korean) 고난을 벗 삼아 진실을 등대삼아 [Befriending Adversity, Truth as the Guiding Light]. Busan Ilbo Books. October 1998. ISBN 89-87236-24-2.
(in Korean) 내 마음의 여정 [Journey of My Mind]. Hansol Media. May 1995. ISBN 89-85656-50-3.
(in Korean) 평범한 가정에 태어났더라면 [If I Were Born in an Ordinary Family]. Nam Song. November 1993. ISBN 2001044000207.
Articles

“A New Kind of Korea: Building Trust Between Seoul and Pyongyang”. Foreign Affairs. September/October 2011. http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/68136/park-geun-hye/a-new-kind-of-korea?page=show. Retrieved 14 August 2012.

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