Ms. ParkGeun-Hye herself, ROK’s possible first female president.
My oh my! With all the talk about North Korea, it’s often easy to forget about its friendlier neighbor South Korea. But, lo and behold, the incumbent New Frontier Party’s candidate is Park Geun-Hye.
To add more intrigue, Park is the daughter of Park Chung-Hee a former leader (slash dictator) of South Korea who pulled the country out of poverty and sort of kind of repressed people for 18 years. Even three decades after he was assassinated, he is still an over-shadowing presence on the campaign—some admire him, some despise him. Park did actually play a role in her father’s reign in her early twenties, stepping into the position of First Lady after her mother was assassinated in 1974. Now sixty, she has much experience in government, having served as an MP for over 15 years.
In any case, we’ll see what will happen. The most prevalent campaign issues thus far have been the widening income gap, unemployment and what to do about North Korea (shock).
Park says she’ll focus on social welfare whereas her opponent, the liberal human rights lawyer Moon Jae-in, wants to raise minimum wage and cut down on temporary workers in the private sector. Kim wants “unconditional talks” with the DPRK while Park favors building a “trustpolitik.”
In any case, for a country that ranks just above Kuwait on the World Economic Forum for gender equality, this election is certainly going to be a historic one.