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South Korea’s Iron Lady

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Posted by Angela Yang on July 14, 2012 at 10:38 pm

South Korea’s Park Geun-hye has become a celebrity. The sixty year old leader of the Saenuri Party is campaigning to become the country’s first female leader. Although her victory is not guaranteed, Ms. Park enjoys favorable odds. She is the daughter of a well-known military dictator, Park Chung-hee, and has been preparing for this election practically her whole life. After her mother was assassinated in 1974, Ms. Park took on the responsibilities of the First Lady, helping her father and learning from him.

Even though the experience sometimes limits her own ability to incorporate newer ways of thinking into her policies, Ms. Park has set herself apart from her father and his autocratic rule. Furthermore, Ms. Park clearly differentiates herself from South Korea’s current president, Lee Myung-bak, whose government was tainted with bribery and foreign policy scandals. By being an independent political figure, her dream of becoming a female president in a male dominated political system shifts closer to reality.

Amongst a few, Ms. Park earned the nickname “Iron Lady” from her assiduous campaigning. Once, she shook hands with eager supporters until her wrist had to be wrapped in a bandage. Not only has she become a respectable and noteworthy politician, but voters sympathize with her. Ms. Park’s parents were assassinated just five years apart from each other, and, having never been married, she seems to have given up her personal life in order to be completely devoted to her country.

On the other hand, she is also sympathetic towards voters. Ms. Park’s goal is to show voters how much she cares about them and paint an image of a softer candidate, especially on issues like the Korean Conflict. Young, unemployed Korean put their faith in her, as her main concerns are the people’s problems. All of these positive qualities make her seem almost like a deity to her supporters.

The Saenuri Party leader, Park Geun-hye, is off to a great start. But this does not mean that she lacks competition. While things are going smoothly for her so far, a lot could happen from now until the election on December 19th.

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