South Korea Just Elected Its First Female President

Meet Park Geun-hye, the conservative daughter of a president who was assassinated in 1979.

1. Park Geun-hye, 60, is the daughter of the late President Park Chung-hee. She’s a trained engineer who has served as a representative in the National Assembly since 1998.

Lee Jin-man / AP

Her father, Park Chung-hee, served as South Korea’s leader for 18 years after seizing power in a 1961 military coup. He was assassinated in 1979. Geun-hye’s mother was also murdered a few years earlier when a bullet aimed at the president hit her instead.

2. Hahm Chaibong, president of the Asian Institute for Policy Studies, told Al Jazeera that Geun-hye’s victory will “have a significant impact on the psyche of the people” and be “a great boost for the women of South Korea.”

Lee Jin-man / AP


3. Here she is on Dec. 4, debating against Lee Jung-hee (Unified Progressive Party) and Moon Jae-in (Democratic United Party).

Lee Jae-won, Pool / AP

4. She reportedly only narrowly beat Moon Jae-in. The voter turnout was the highest in 15 years, officials said.

Kim Hong-ji, Pool / AP

The Guardian reports she led with 51.6 percent when 70 percent of all votes were counted.

5. She’s said her goals are to close South Korea’s wealth gap and create jobs, as well as protect the country and its territories from “provocations and nuclear threats.”

Yonhap / Reuters


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Jessica Testa is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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