Park Geun-Hye. Image from Reuters.

Park Geun-Hye was the first woman to be elected as President of South Korea. She held this position from 2013 to 2016 when a scandal led to her downfall.
She is the daughter of the former President of South Korea Park Chung-Hee. She suffered great personal loss when both of her parents were assassinated within five years of each other in the 1970s. Following the death of her mother, she fulfilled the role of First Lady until her father’s death in 1979. After this she decided to stay in politics.

In 2004 she was named as the chairwoman of the Grand National Party (GNP). In this role she oversaw the general election of that year and which saw the party make impressive gains. In 2007 she decided to run for office and was aiming to become the GNP candidate. She won the party’s nomination but did not win the national vote. The GNP went on to suffer a loss in popularity and decided to change the name of the party to the Saenuri Party (New Frontier Party). Geun-Hye was named the leader of the party.

She decided to make a presidential bid again in 2012 and this time she was successful, becoming the first woman to be elected as President of South Korea. After her election, she promised to be a ‘President for the people’. Her popularity shifted dramatically after her election with some polls claiming that she was the most unpopular leader South Korea has ever had.
She faced charges of corruption in 2016 which ultimately ended her political career. The charges she face include revealing government secrets, bribery, abusing her position as president and coercion. She denies all of these charges but is currently in prison while the trial is on-going. A new election was held earlier this month to replace her as President.

-Michelle O’Brien
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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