News / Asia

South Korea Elects First Female President

South Korea's presidential candidate Park Geun-hye of the ruling Saenuri Party waves to her supporters upon her arrival to cast her ballot for the presidential election at a polling station in Seoul, December 19, 2012.
South Korea's presidential candidate Park Geun-hye of the ruling Saenuri Party waves to her supporters upon her arrival to cast her ballot for the presidential election at a polling station in Seoul, December 19, 2012.
Conservative Saenuri [New Frontier] Party candidate Park Geun-hye has made history by winning South Korea's presidential election, becoming the country's first female president-elect after defeating liberal rival Moon Jae-in of the Democratic United Party by several percentage points.
 
Interacting briefly with several media representatives on a large open-air stage in downtown Seoul, the five-term lawmaker and daughter of a former dictator vowed to fulfill every promise she made during the campaign.
 
By keeping everyone's support and trust in mind, Park said she "will definitely open an era of peoples' happiness in which everyone can enjoy some simple pleasures and their dreams can come true."

Park Geun-hye

  • Daughter of late South Korean dictator Park Chung-hee
  • Member of President Lee Myung-bak's ruling conservative New Frontier Party
  • Would be first female president in South Korea's history
  • Holds slight lead in latest opinion polls
  • 60 years old
After being handed a bouquet of flowers, Park left the stage to the cheers of her supporters. She gave no formal victory speech.
 
At a subdued Democratic United Party headquarters in another part of the capital, Moon Jae-in conceded. Apologizing to supporters, he called the defeat his failure, "not a failure of the people who hoped for new politics," and then offered his congratulations to the new president-elect.
 
Turnout 76 percent voter turnout was considered high, surpassing the two previous presidential elections despite sub-freezing temperatures across the country.

Voters, bundled in their thickest winter clothing and stomping their feet to stay warm, waited in long lines to get into polling stations.
Story continues below photo gallery
  • South Korea's president-elect Park Geun-hye, center, poses with an official certificate stating her election victory, Seoul, December 20, 2012.
  • South Korea's president-elect Park Geun-hye bows in front of the grave of her father Park Chung-hee, the country's former dictator, at the National Cemetery in Seoul, December 20, 2012.
  • Park Geun-hye of the ruling Saenuri Party waves to her supporters near the party's head office in Seoul, December 19, 2012.
  • Supporters of Park Geun-hye cheer near her Saenuri Party's head office in Seoul, December 19, 2012.
  • South Korean opposition Democratic United Party's presidential candidate Moon Jae-in, second from left, shakes hands with supporters after he cast his ballot in the presidential election in Seoul, December 19, 2012.
  • Members of opposition Democratic United Party watch TV news reporting exit polls on their presidential candidate Moon Jae-in in South Korea's presidential elections, Seoul, December 19, 2012.
  • A South Korean woman with her son, tries to come out from a booth at a polling station in Seoul, December 19, 2012.
  • South Korean National Election Commission officials sort out ballots cast in the presidential election as they begin the counting process in Seoul, December 19, 2012.

After the results were known, a jubilant Park supporter, 56-year-old company employee Choi Duk-soon, said she is elated by the historic victory.
 
Choi says she is "thrilled to have the country's first female president who can heal conflicts due to regional and class differences."
 
The incumbent, President Lee Myung-bak of the Saenuri Party, was limited to a single five-year term. He was elected in 2007, narrowly defeating Park in a party primary race.
 
For Park, who is 60 and is scheduled to take office February 25, it will actually be the second time residing in the presidential Blue House. She lived there in the 1970's, serving as the country's acting first lady after her mother was assassinated by a North Korea-backed gunman.
 
The ever-present threat from Pyonyang will be only one of the daunting challenges she faces; Park is faced with widening income disparity amid a slowing economy, soaring welfare costs for an aging, and a rekindling territorial dispute with Japan.
 
During the campaign, Moon, who served as chief of staff to former president Roh Moo-hyun, said he would want to hold a summit meeting with North Korea in the first year of his presidency. Park declared no such meeting could take place unless Pyongyang apologizes for military provocation it has launched in recent years.
 
Park's father led a 1961 coup and stayed in power until he was assassinated in 1979 by the chief of his intelligence agency.
 
Park’s campaign said the first item on her schedule the morning after the election would be to pay her respects at the national cemetery where her parents are buried.
 
Youmi Kim in VOA's Seoul bureau contributed to this report.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: Tommy from: TwoShoes
December 19, 2012 1:12 PM
Is no one concerned that her mom and most likely her dad was assassinated by north korea?

In Response

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
December 20, 2012 7:24 PM
To callmekom. Do you mind if ask you who do you mean a president who is not a president?

In Response

by: callmekom from: S.Korea
December 20, 2012 6:02 AM
No, they were assassinated by South
You'll never know how it feels to be in a country with a president
who is not a president!(Park's father did things that can never be
forgtten about)
They were killed for good


by: Michael from: Helsing
December 19, 2012 1:01 PM
Sad, indeed. Where are the men? Sad thing to see such decay that a worthy man can't be found to lead.


by: gon from: south Korea
December 19, 2012 10:50 AM
I'm deeply ashamed of her who became a 18th president in this country. I'm at a loss for words. we have had to suffer from a corrupt president Lee for the past 5 years ,and now we have to endure this next president who is the dictator's daughter. Don't tease this country. Half of this country people never support her.
ah~what a pity country! tonight all bar is filled with people who is stunned by this unbelievable outcome. I feel this silent winter is colder and crueller than before.
once again! Of the people For the people By the people.
Don't be so sad my brothers in this country! I can't help stoping to cry. sorry,my peninsula!

In Response

by: John Kim from: Yorba Linda
December 24, 2012 9:55 PM
I share your grief my friend

In Response

by: Kramer from: Phoenix
December 20, 2012 8:24 PM
or Gon from South Korea, either you support and be happy or jump off the bridge!!

In Response

by: Kramer from: Phoenix
December 20, 2012 8:21 PM
Hey Gon from South Korea...u sound depressed....She is now the nation's president. You ought to support her for the country...trust me. Be positive. She will do well and won't let you down. No matter what happened in the past, we need to move on and reach out to support. Congrats Park Geun-hye!!

In Response

by: Kom from: S.Korea
December 20, 2012 6:08 AM
Hey, I agree with the Lee part, but just because her father was a dictator who did thhings that can never be forgiven, doesn't mean
that she is not a good president. If you hate her so much, why don't you go out there and change our country?

In Response

by: faith from: Paris
December 20, 2012 1:37 AM
I agee with you.

In Response

by: Anonymous
December 19, 2012 9:44 PM
I'm completely on the same page with 'sang'. I wanna say to you, gon, before you deplore the present situation, how about learning korea's history again, at least the part of her father's era? The word 'progressive' has quite a positive meaning 'in a dictionary' but in korea, I think, its meaning has changed in a disguised way to promote North Korea's ideology. Im kinda suspicious of mindset of people like you, gon.

In Response

by: Happy from: California
December 19, 2012 2:43 PM
I grew up in the late sixties and seventies in Korea where progressively, the country changed its landscape from poor to emerging economy. People were so poor, that as part of the "movement," we brought in bags of rice to school to help other students who would otherwise have skipped lunch meals. Altruism abounded, and a sense of community, good neighborly deeds were part of our daily lives. In short, people's lives were more balanced, and everyone pulled each other up. All this because of late President Park's strong leadership. Hard times required hard measures, and he was the man to accomplish all the things, on which foundation the country now sits. Now, the gap between the rich and the poor is ever widening in Korea.

The balance needs to be restored. I am hopeful that Ms. Park will bring forth some of the principles that her father adopted in restoring people's wilted spirits. "Some" not all, as times have changed and she will face many new challenges. To "Gon" from South Korea: I pity you that you never got to live in a society where measured progress enriched public's lives, and the country as a whole became stronger because of it. To those who consider late President Park a dictator: You've been brainwashed.

In Response

by: Straight Sword from: California, US
December 19, 2012 1:23 PM
Such a narrow-minded and arrogant self-conceited Arseh--e with a lousy mouth as YOU have been obstacle to progress positivelly ahead for more than 500 years. The founder of Yi dynasty seized power by coup de'tat. She is NOT dictator's daughter. Her father was who founded today's economically-powered Korea and far from corruption. So many people died of hungry in springs every year in 1950s,60s. He ended it by supporting poor and farming people by 'Sae-Ma-Ul movement'. After his death, his political enemies became presidents one after another and showed how corrupted-to-the-core pigs they were! Korea was lucky to have general Park Chung-Hee, indeed! Hopefully, she would show the people her father's virtues caring people really and no corruption. Spread this to your neighbors & friends. Have positive thinking way. Arseh--e!

In Response

by: s from: U.S.
December 19, 2012 1:10 PM
stfu. likes of you know nothing about the economic development president Lee has achieved. If you like to measure the corruption, still it's way lower than what former-president Loh and Kim has contributed to the North Korea's nuclear creation aid.

In Response

by: Sang from: Korea
December 19, 2012 12:45 PM
Well, if you are ashamed, why don't you pack your bag and go up North. One thing people tend to ignore during the election is the fact her father - former president - led the economic growth in 60-70s. He was in powers for close to 20 years yet if it wasn't for him, South Korea is still living like a third world country. So stop whinning and know your history before start going on and on about how depress your life is... Unless, you are ok to forfeit what you have enjoyed in your life... grow up...


by: charlie from: california
December 19, 2012 10:32 AM
Now S. Koreas as well as the north are allowing families with strings to power create dynasties behind the trappings of a republic. Monarchy is apparently in our DNA, But I prefer the European version not the Papa Doc version. Yes it's about women but then Cleopatra was a woman in 50 BC.

In Response

by: Anonymous
December 19, 2012 2:56 PM
This is to John, not Charlie...

"It's too bad that the world has learned its political lessons from the US .Power and $$$ drive everything in America"

You're acting like this is somehow an American-only phenomenon. Practically every ruler and/or ruling class throughout human history was driven by power and money. Not sure what you're getting at here.

In Response

by: john from: California
December 19, 2012 12:04 PM
It's too bad that the world has learned its political lessons from the US .Power and $$$ drive everything in America

Comments page of 2
 Previous    

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid