SEOUL - Agence France-Presse
Park Geun-Hye, Presidential hopeful of the ruling Saenuri Party's leading, speaks to supporters as she announces her presidential bid in Seoul, South Korea, 10 July 2012. EPA Photo
Park Geun-Hye, the daughter of an assassinated dictator, launched her campaign yesterday to become South Korea’s first female president with polls placing her as frontrunner in December’s election.
The veteran politician, who is expected to secure the ruling conservative New Frontier Party’s
nomination at its primary next month, softened her message in a speech apparently intended to broaden her appeal.
Pledging to work for a fair and transparent market economy, Park, 60, vowed to expand welfare and push for “economic democratization” amid a widening wealth gap and high youth unemployment in Asia’s fourth largest economy. Huge conglomerates fostered by her father Park Chung-Hee in the 1960s and 1970s still dominate the economy, sparking resentment at their omnipresence. “I will devote my everything to make the Republic of Korea (South Korea) a country in which everybody can achieve their dreams,” she said.
Park’s father seized power in a coup in 1961 and ruled until his assassination in 1979 by his spy chief. Her mother was shot dead by a pro-North Korean assassin in 1974.