South Korea elects its first female president …Elige Surcorea a su Primera Presidenta
BEIJING — The daughter of a former general who led a military coup in South Korea became the first female president following a tight race against an opponent who called for more peaceful persuasion in dealing with communist North Korea.
Park Geun Hye, 60, the daughter of former leader Park Chung Hee, defeated Moon Jae In, 59, a lawmaker once jailed in the 1970s for opposing her father’s dictatorial regime. She replaces President Lee Myung Bak, a member of her conservative party.
On the campaign, Park said she would try to reach out to North Korea with offers of friendship and aid to get it to end its threats and attacks against the South. But she did not favor a return to a more dovish policy that Moon promoted.
She also promised to fight government corruption, boost welfare benefits to help in an ailing economy and curb the power of big corporations, though again Moon had called for greater crackdowns on corporations that small businesses say are too powerful.
Freezing temperatures around 14 degrees did not prevent a high turnout of 76% of the country’s 40 million eligible voters, according to the National Election Commission. The turnout was up 13% from the last election in 2007. Park will serve a single five-year term beginning in February.
The economy appeared to be the top issue among voters, not North Korea, the belligerent neighbor that launched a long-range missile during the campaign.The global music hit Gangnam Style introduced the world to Seoul’s super-wealthy Gangnam district, yet many South Koreans are experiencing hard economic times.
Both candidates pledged to reduce economic inequality and expand the welfare system, but in differing ways.
The campaign «is not only a battle between two ideological blocs, but also a competition between younger and older generations,» said Kang Won Taek, a political scientist at Seoul National University.
Voters in their 20s and 30s preferred Moon, while those in their 50s and above favored Park, making the large number of 40 year-olds the «pivot voters,» he said.
Kang Seo Yun, his daughter, used her first presidential election vote to push for change – and a job – by voting for Moon.
«I thought we needed a bit of a change here in Korea,» said Kang, 23, who studies film at Seoul’s Chung Ang University. «North Korea is a very important issue, but it was not the most important for me.»
Moon’s promises to create new jobs swayed her vote and her classmates’ vote, said Kang, who admitted a Park victory would still leave her «partly happy, as a woman.»
Oh Se Sook, 57, a small shop owner, said she voted for Park because «the economy is not as important as national security. Korea is still in the middle of war and a good economy will not protect us.»
No peace treaty has ever ended the Korean War, the tense legacy of which includes the presence of nearly 30,000 U.S. troops in South Korea.
Park’s victory, after her breakthrough campaign as South Korea’s first ever serious female candidate, highlights the long-neglected issue of women’s status in a society dominated by men. In October, the World Economic Forum ranked South Korea 108th out of 135 countries in terms of gender equality.
There’s a long road ahead, said Kong Sung Hae, 26, marketing manager for a Korean cosmetics firm, who voted for Park.
«The economy has been growing very quickly, but there’s not been much time to grow our culture, and we still lack in terms of gender equality,» she said. «As a woman, and a very experienced politician, Park knows how to deal with people and how to solve problems.»
When Park takes office, she will be back in the presidential Blue House that was her childhood home. Her father Park Chung Hee, a military general, took power in a coup in 1961 and ran South Korea as a military dictatorship until assassinated in 1979 by his security chief.
Many, including the older conservative voters who form her political base, see Park Chung Hee as a hero, the man whose strong hand guided the country from the devastation of the Korean War to an economic force that lifted millions from poverty. His critics remember the brutal way he dealt with opponents to his unchecked rule, the claims of torture, execution and vote rigging.
Her website describes a young Park losing sleep in the Blue House and praying for rain during a devastating drought. Her choice of college major was electronic engineering, «rare for women,» according to the website.
Her dreams of a normal life ended Aug. 15, 1974, she says, when a Korean resident of Japan, claiming orders from North Korean leader Kim Il Sung, shot and killed her mother in a botched assassination attempt against her father.
She was elected to parliament and lost narrowly in 2007 presidential primaries to Lee.
Her greatest challenge besides economic recovery will be tackling North Korea.
On the campaign trail, Park indicated she favors a conditions-based engagement with Pyongyang, a departure from President Lee’s more hard-line approach. It was during Lee’s tenure that the North bombarded the South Korea island of Yeonpyeong in 2010, killing four South Koreans.
Meanwhile, the North reinforced the personality cult of its ruling dynasty on Wednesday. State media said the embalmed body of former president Kim Jong Il now lies on public display, a year after his death, in the same mausoleum as his father, the national founder, while his son and current leader Kim Jong Un appeared on television beside what appeared to be his pregnant wife, possibly bearing the family’s fourth-generation ruler.
Elige Surcorea a su primera Presidenta
…Park Geun-hye asumirá un mandato único en febrero de 2013 con el reto de la amenaza de Corte del Norte y recuperar la economía
Seúl, Corea del Sur (19 diciembre 2012).- La candidata conservadora Park Geun-hye se convirtió hoy en la primera mujer en ganar la presidencia de Corea del Sur en unos comicios reñidos y prometió que su victoria ayudará a la recuperación económica del país.
Park es la hija del asesinado ex Gobernante militar Park Chung-hee y llegó a ejercer el rol de Primera Dama en la década de 1970, tras la muerte de su madre.
Park asumirá un mandato único en febrero de 2013 y deberá asumir de inmediato el reto de una Corea del Norte hostil, además de tener que gestionar una economía cuyo ritmo de crecimiento se ha desacelerado desde el promedio del 5.5 por ciento en los últimos 50 años a alrededor del 2 por ciento.
«Esta es una victoria producida por la esperanza del pueblo por superar la crisis y por una recuperación económica», declaró Park a sus partidarios en Seúl.
Soltera y sin hijos, asegura que su vida está dedicada a su país.
El legado de su padre, Park Chung-hee, que gobernó Corea del Sur durante 18 años y transformó el país desde las ruinas tras la guerra de Corea entre 1950-1953 en una potencia industrial, todavía divide a sus habitantes. Su padre murió en 1979.
Para muchos conservadores, es el gran Presidente de Corea del Sur y la elección de su hija reivindicaría su mandato. Sus oponentes lo califican como un «dictador» que pisoteó los derechos humanos y asfixió a la disidencia.
Park ha pasado 15 años en política como una de las principales diputadas del partido Saenuri, que ha ocupado el poder, aunque sus intenciones son imprecisas.
Ha dicho que negociará con Kim Jong-un, el joven líder de Corea del Norte que acaba de celebrar un año en el poder, pero quiere que su empobrecido y aislado vecino abandone su programa de armas nucleares como condición para ayudarla, algo a lo que se niega Pyongyang.
Las dos Coreas siguen técnicamente en guerra, después de que el conflicto de 1950 a 1953 terminara sólo con un armisticio.
Kim Il Sung, abuelo del actual líder norcoreano, ordenó varios intentos de asesinato del padre de Park, en uno de los cuales murió su madre a tiros en 1974.