Park Geun-hye

Park Geun-hye (Korean박근혜; Hanja朴槿惠; RRBak Geun(-)hye; IPA: [pak‿k͈ɯn.hje]; born 2 February 1952) is a former South Korean politician who served as President of South Korea from 2013 to 2017. Park was the first woman to be President of South Korea[2] and also the first female president popularly elected as head of state in East Asia. She was also the first South Korean president to be born after the country's founding; her predecessors were either born during Japanese rule or during the post-World War II transitional period.

Before her presidency, Park was chairwoman of the conservative Grand National Party (GNP, formerly called the Saenuri Party from February 2012 onwards now called the Liberty Korea Party) from 2004 to 2006 and 2011 to 2012. She was also a member of the National Assembly, serving four consecutive parliamentary terms between 1998 and 2012. She started her fifth term as a representative elected via national list in June 2012. Her father, Park Chung-hee, was the President of South Korea from 1963 to 1979, serving five consecutive terms after he seized power in 1961.[2]

In 2013 and 2014, Park ranked 11th on the Forbes list of the world's 100 most powerful women and the most powerful woman in East Asia.[3] In 2014, she ranked 46th on the Forbes list of the world's most powerful people, the third-highest South Korean on the list, after Lee Kun-hee and Lee Jae-yong.

On 9 December 2016, the National Assembly impeached Park on charges related to influence peddling by her top aide, Choi Soon-sil.[4] Then-Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn assumed her powers and duties as Acting President as a result.[5] The Constitutional Court upheld the impeachment by a unanimous 8–0 ruling on 10 March 2017, thereby removing Park from office.[6]

On 6 April 2018, South Korean courts sentenced Park to 24 years in prison which was later increased to 25 years.[7][8] Park is currently imprisoned at Seoul Detention Center.[9]


Park Geun-hye
박근혜
Korea President Park UN 20130506 01 cropped
President of South Korea
In office
25 February 2013 – 10 March 2017[a]
Prime MinisterChung Hong-won
Lee Wan-koo
Choi Kyoung-hwan (acting)
Hwang Kyo-ahn
Preceded byLee Myung-bak
Succeeded byMoon Jae-in
Leader of the Liberty Korea Party
In office
19 December 2011 – 15 May 2012
Preceded byHwang Woo-yea (Acting)
Succeeded byHwang Woo-yea
In office
23 March 2004 – 15 June 2006
Preceded byChoe Byeong-ryeol
Succeeded byKim Yeong-seon (Acting)
Member of the National Assembly
In office
30 May 2012 – 10 December 2012
ConstituencyProportional representation
In office
3 April 1998 – 29 May 2012
Preceded byKim Suk-won
Succeeded byLee Jong-jin
ConstituencyDalseong (Daegu)
First Lady of South Korea
Acting
In role
16 August 1974 – 26 October 1979
PresidentPark Chung-hee
Preceded byYuk Young-soo
Succeeded byHong Gi
Personal details
Born2 February 1952 (age 67)
Taegu, South Korea
Political partyLiberty Korea (1997–2017)
Independent (2017–present)[1]
ParentsPark Chung-hee
Yuk Young-soo
ResidenceSeoul
Alma materSogang University
Joseph Fourier University
Signature
Park Geun-hye's signature
Korean name
Revised RomanizationBak Geun(-)hye
McCune–ReischauerPak Kŭnhye

Early life and education

Park was born on 2 February 1952, in Samdeok-dong of Jung District, Daegu, as the first child of Park Chung-hee, the unelected 3rd president of South Korea, who having come to power with the May 16 military coup d'état of 1961, served from 1963 until his assassination in 1979, and Yuk Young-soo. Both of her parents were assassinated. She has a younger brother, Park Ji-man, and a younger sister, Park Geun-ryeong.[10] She is unmarried with no children. Pew Research Center described her as an atheist with a Buddhist and Roman Catholic upbringing.[11]

In addition to her native Korean, Park also speaks English, French, Spanish, and Mandarin with varying degrees of fluency.

In 1953, Park's family moved to Seoul and she graduated from Seoul's Jangchung Elementary School and Sungshim (literal: Sacred Heart) Girls' Middle and High School in 1970, going on to receive a bachelor's degree in electronic engineering from Sogang University in 1974.[12] She briefly studied at Joseph Fourier University, but left France following the murder of her mother.[13]

Park's mother was killed on 15 August 1974 in the National Theater of Korea; Mun Se-gwang, a Japanese-born ethnic Korean sympathizer of North Korea and member of the Chongryon, was attempting to assassinate President Park Chung-hee.[14] Park was regarded as First Lady until the assassination of her father by his own intelligence chief, Kim Jae-gyu, on 26 October 1979.[15][16][17] During this time, activists who were political opponents of her father claimed to be subject to arbitrary detention. Further, human rights were considered subordinate to economic development.[18] In 2007, Park expressed regret at the treatment of activists during this period.[19]

Park received honorary doctoral degrees from the Chinese Culture University in Taiwan in 1987, Pukyong National University and KAIST in 2008, Sogang University in 2010, and TU Dresden in 2014.[20]

Career

Assembly woman

Park was elected a Grand National Party (GNP) assemblywoman for Dalseong County, Daegu, in 1998 by-election, and three more times in the same electoral district between 1998 and 2008, being the incumbent assemblywoman till April 2012. In 2012, she announced that she would not run for a constituency representative seat for the 19th election in Dalseong or anywhere else, but for a proportional representative position for the Saenuri Party instead, in order to lead the party's election campaign.[21] She was elected as a proportional representative in the April 2012 election.[22][23]

GNP chairwoman and "Queen of Elections"

Due to the failed attempt to impeach President Roh Moo-hyun and the bribery scandal of its 2002 presidential candidate, Lee Hoi-chang (revealed in 2004), the GNP was facing a severe defeat in the 2004 general election. Park was appointed as the chairwoman of the party and led the election efforts. In the election, the GNP lost its majority position but managed to gain 121 seats, which is largely considered a great achievement under such inhospitable circumstances for the party.[24][25] As the chairwoman of the GNP, Park helped her party make significant gains in local elections and actually obtain a majority in 2006.

During the campaign, on 20 May 2006, Ji Chung-ho, a 50-year-old man with eight criminal convictions, slashed Park's face with a utility knife, causing an 11-centimeter wound that required 60 stitches and several hours of surgery.[26][27] A famous anecdote from this incident occurred when Park was hospitalized after the attack. The first word that she said to her secretary after her recovery from her wound was "How is Daejeon?" After this, the candidate from the Grand National Party won the election for mayor of the city of Daejeon despite having trailed by more than 20 percentage points in opinion polls up to the point of the attack. In addition, during her term as the GNP chairwoman between 2004 and 2006, the party won all 40 reelections and by-elections held, which was largely credited to her influence and efforts. This feat gave Park a nickname "Queen of Elections".[28][29][30]

On 12 February 2007, Park made a much-publicized visit to Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. Her visit culminated in an address to a packed audience at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, where she said she wanted to save Korea and advocated a stronger relationship between South Korea and the United States.[31][32]

2007 Presidential bid

Park hoped to emulate her father's success by becoming the presidential nominee of the Grand National Party.[23] She eventually lost to Lee Myung-bak by a narrow margin. Lee had a commanding lead at the beginning of the primary season, but Park was able to narrow the gap through allegations of Lee's corruption. Park won the "party members' bid", but she lost the "national bid", which is a larger percentage of the total presidential bid.

2008 general election

After the 2007 presidential election, President Lee Myung-bak formed a government of mostly close supporters.[33] Park's supporters argued that this was a kind of political reprisal, and that they should secede from the Grand National Party.[34] Eventually, they formed parties named Pro-Park Coalition and Solidarity for Pro-Park Independents (친박 무소속 연대; Chin Park Musosok Yeondae). Park herself did not join them, but indirectly supported them by announcing "I hope these people will come back alive." After the mass secession, the rebels announced that they would rejoin GNP after the general election, but the GNP prohibited it. In the following 2008 general election, the rebels won 26 seats: 14 from the Pro-Park Coalition and 12 as independents. Together, they played a pivotal role in the GNP's narrow majority. Park continually insisted that GNP should allow the return of her supporters. As of 2011, most of these rebels had returned to the GNP, resulting in approximately 50 to 60 assembly members who support Park out of 171 in the GNP.

Head of Saenuri Party

As a response to the dwindling approval rating of the GNP, the party formed an emergency committee and changed the name of the political party from the Grand National Party to the Saenuri Party, meaning "New Frontier" Party.[21] On 19 December 2011, Park was appointed as the chairwoman of GNP's Emergency Committee, the de facto leader of the party.

2012 parliamentary election

The Saenuri Party achieved a surprise win against the opposing Democratic United Party in the 2012 General Election, winning 152 seats and retaining its majority position. Because of the corruption scandals of the Lee administration revealed before the election, the Saenuri Party was widely expected to win no more than 100 seats.[35] During the 13-day campaign period, Park traveled about 7,200 km (4,500 mi) around South Korea, visiting more than 100 constituencies.[36] It is the consensus of Korean news media and political experts that the most important factor leading to Saenuri Party's victory was Park's leadership. For this reason, the 2012 election was often dubbed the "return of the Queen of Election".[35][37] Saenuri's defeat in the populous Seoul metropolitan area in this election, however, revealed the limitation of Park's political influence.[35]

2012 presidential campaign

Park had been the leading candidate for the 2012 presidential election in every national-level poll in South Korea between 2008, when the Lee Myung-bak administration began, and September 2011, with an approval rating of 25% to 45%, more than twice that of the second candidate. Park's approval rating was highest when the 2008 National Assembly election showed her strong influence and lowest in early 2010 as a result of her political stance against the Lee administration in Sejong City issue.[38] Park also benefited from a public image of standing aloofly above the fray of politics.[39] In September 2011, Ahn Cheol-soo, a former venture IT businessman and the Dean of Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology at Seoul National University, emerged as a strong independent candidate for the presidency. In national-level presidential polls in September 2011, Ahn and Park Geun Hye closely competed for the status of front-runner, with Park losing the top seat in some polls for the first time since 2008.[40]

After her victory in the 2012 General Election, Park's approval rating increased significantly. In a national-level survey by Mono Research on 30 August[41] Park was the top presidential candidate with an approval rating of 45.5% when competing with all potential candidates, and according to another recent national survey result, had a higher approval rating (50.6%) than Ahn (43.9%) in a two-way competition with him as of 11 September.[42] On 10 July, Park formally announced her 2012 presidential bid at the Time Square, Yeongdeungpo District, Seoul. In this event she emphasized the right to pursue happiness, a democratic economy, and customized welfare services for the Korean people.[43]

The opposing Democratic Party elected Moon Jae-in as its presidential candidate on 17 September, while Ahn Cheol-soo announced his presidential bid on 19 September. Although still a leading candidate, Park had a lower approval rating than both Ahn and Moon when engaged in two-way competition, according to a 22 September national survey.[44] She was elected as the President of the Republic of Korea on 19 December 2012 with the approval of 51.6% of Korean voters.[45]

In 2017, the NSI admitted it conducted an illicit campaign to influence the 2012 presidential election, mobilising teams of experts in psychological warfare to ensure that the conservative candidate, Park Geun-hye, beat her liberal rival Moon Jae-in.[46]

Positions

KOCIS CheongWaDae Children Day 02 (8713947728)
President Park Geun-hye (center) smiles and shows a portrait drawn by a girl in Cheong Wa Dae, Seoul, at Children's Day 5 May 2013

In a 2012 survey by Korean Research assessing the political stance of 12 potential presidential candidates of South Korea, Park was considered the most conservative candidate.[21][47]

Her conservative, market-oriented political stance was well reflected in her campaign pledge for 2008 presidential bid to cut taxes, reduce regulation, and establish strong law and order.[48] Since 2009, however, Park started to focus more on welfare issues, advocating customized welfare services to the South Korean people.[48]

Park was well known for her strict, no-compromise adherence to political promises. In 2010, for example, she successfully stopped the Lee administration's attempt to cancel the plan to establish Sejong City, a new national center of administration, arguing the plan was a promise made to the people. This conflict between Park and the Lee Administration cost her a considerable decrease in her approval rating at the time.[49] In 2012, Park also vowed to construct a new airport in the southeastern region, a 2008 presidential campaign promise made by GNP but cancelled in 2011, despite claims of economic infeasibility of the plan.[50]

The administrative vision of President Park Geun-hye's new government was "a new era of hope and happiness". The five Administrative Goals of the government were "a jobs-centered creative economy", "tailored employment and welfare", "creativity-oriented education and cultural enrichment", "a safe and united society" and "strong security measures for sustainable peace on the Korean Peninsula". The Park Geun-hye administration planned to create a trustworthy, clean, and capable government through carrying out these goals, related strategies, and tasks.[51]

Park chose not to vote in the 2017 South Korean presidential election.[52]

Presidency (2013–17)

Inauguration

Korea 18th Presidential Inaugural 06
President Park Geun-hye on inauguration day, 25 February 2013

Park became the 18th president of South Korea on 25 February 2013. At midnight, she took over all presidential authorities including the prerogative of supreme command of South Korea's armed forces from her predecessor Lee Myung-bak. In her inauguration speech at the National Assembly building, Park spoke of her plan to open a new era of hope through "economic prosperity, people's happiness, and cultural enrichment". She particularly expressed her hope that North Korea would give up its nuclear arms and walk on the path of peace and mutual development, and declared that the foundation for a happy era of unification in which all Korean people will be able to enjoy prosperity and freedom and realize their dreams would be built through the Korean Peninsula Trust-building Process. In her inauguration speech, Park presented four guiding principles to realize her administrative vision: economic prosperity, people's happiness, cultural enrichment, and establishment of foundation for peaceful unification.[53] Park's inauguration ceremony was the largest one in South Korean history with 70,000 participants. Diplomatic representatives in Korea as well as high-level delegates specially sent from 24 countries around the world including Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, U.S. National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon, Taiwanese Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng and former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda also participated in the event to congratulate Park.[54][55]

First year (February 2013 – February 2014)

Administrative philosophy

The goal of the newly launched Park Geun-hye Administration for governing state affairs was to open "a new era of hope and happiness for all the people". Park avowed that South Korea would break away from its long-pursued development model that centered around the nation, and shift the focus of government administration from the state to individual citizens. Through this process the structure of co-prosperity would be created, in which citizens became happy and national development occurred as a result. Park's administrative vision and basic principles for governing the nation were concretely outlined in her policy plans for the economy, society, welfare, diplomacy, and unification. The administration's keywords in managing state affairs were "people", "happiness", "trust", "co-prosperity" and "principle".[56]

Government restructuring

Right after taking office, Park restructured the Blue House and government organization to carry out her administrative vision. The Office of National Security at the Blue House, Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, and Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries were newly launched, and the seat of Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs was revived. The Chief of the National Security Office would act as a "control tower" for diplomatic, security, and national defense issues, and the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs for economic, social, and welfare issues.[57]

Foreign policy

Park Geun-Hye meeting with Barack Obama
Park Geun-hye at a bilateral meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama on 7 May 2013

After taking office, Park met with John Kerry and U.S. President Barack Obama. Park's trip to the United States in May 2013 was her first foreign trip after taking office.[58]

Like many of her predecessors, Park has maintained a close relationship with the U.S., which has over 20,000 soldiers stationed in South Korea. During her visit to the U.S., she addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress, where she called for a united front against any North Korean provocations. Park also called for a strong global relationship between South Korea and the United States.[59]

Park assesses the security situation on the Korean Peninsula and emphasized that deterrence capabilities were the most important factor for security. Thus, Park considers the American-South Korean alliance as the most successful one in the world. And she hopes the American-South Korean relationship can be upgraded from a comprehensive strategic alliance to a global partnership.[60]

Park visited the United States on her first overseas trip as president. She traveled to Washington, D.C., New York City, and Los Angeles on 5–9 May 2013.[61]

During summit talks in May at the White House, Presidents Park and Obama adopted a joint declaration for the American-South Korean alliance and discussed ways to further develop the bilateral relations in a future-forward manner. Also, two leaders discussed ways to promote cooperation in building peace in the Northeast Asian region and strength the partnership between Seoul and Washington.[62]

The two leaders of South Korea and the United States agreed to adopt a joint statement on comprehensive energy cooperation to build a foundation for a future growth engine and establish a policy cooperation committee on information and communication technology. In addition, President Park urged her U.S. counterpart to expand the annual U.S. visa quota for South Korean professionals in order to promote co-development of both economies.[62]

In particular, the "Joint declaration in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Alliance between the Republic of Korea and the United States of America" adopted by South Korea and the United States will become a meaningful document looking back at the past six decades of the alliance and spelling out a new direction for the development of bilateral relations over the coming decade.[63]

North Korea had engaged in provocations such as violating a UN Security Council resolution and firing a long-range missile on 12 December 2012, just before the 19 December presidential election. After Park was elected, North Korea conducted its third nuclear test 12 February 2013, nullified the non-aggression agreements between the two countries on 8 March and withdrew North Korean workers from the Kaesong Industrial Complex on 8 April.[64] Park maintained her stance that South Korea will not succumb to the North's provocations and threats, and will endeavor to elicit policy coordination towards North Korea with major powers such as the United States, China and the UN.[65] Her response to North Korean issues gained the support of many South Koreans and also the United States, China, and Russia, and played a significant role in the unanimous adoption by the UN Security Council of Resolution 2094 regarding North Korea on 7 March 2013.[66] Due to Park's response and the international community's actions, on 6 June North Korea ceased provocations and threats towards the South and suggested holding discussions on reopening the Kaesong Industrial Complex.[67] Park said that peace and unification on the Korean peninsula is the wish of all 70 million Koreans and that as president she will do her utmost to meet such a goal. As well, "the ultimate objective of reunification efforts is to improve the quality of life of people in both Koreas, to further expand freedom and human rights, and [from there] build a prosperous Korean Peninsula."[68] She later stated, "to open a new era of peace and hope on the peninsula, North Korea needs to accept her administration's trust building policy initiative".[69][70]

Park's policy vision and initiative on issues concerning North Korea and unification are reflected in her Korean Peninsula Trust-building Process. The Ministry of Unification has announced a new vision statement "realizing a new unified Korea that ensures everyone's happiness". The administrative tasks for this cause include normalizing inter-Korean relations through a trust-building process, embarking on small-scale unification projects that will lead to a complete integration of the two Koreas, and taking practical measures to prepare for unification by strengthening unification capabilities.[71] According to Park, peaceful unification will be achieved in a three-stage unification initiative: starting from securing peace, going through economic integration, and finally reaching political integration. To achieve sustainable peace by the initiative, the new administration will offer humanitarian assistance for the people in North Korea, inter-Korean exchange and cooperation in economic, social and cultural areas, and will apply 'Vision Korea project' for establishing a single economic community in the Korean Peninsula, conditioned on sufficient mutual trust and progress in denuclearizing North Korea.[72]

Korea China Press Conference 20130627 03
Park Geun-hye and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Beijing, 27 June 2013

On 27–30 June 2013, Park visited China with a South Korean delegation, where she met with Xi Jinping, the Chinese president. During the meetings, Park explained the government's stance on North Korea and gained his support.[73]

On 13 November 2013, Park held an extended summit with President Vladimir Putin, whose visit to South Korea was the first among leaders of 4 major powers including the United States, China, and Japan. During the summit, Park and Putin had a comprehensive and productive dialogue with focus on improving economic relations such as logistics cooperation projects (through Russia and North Korea), expanding people-to-people exchanges, and strengthening political ties between South Korea and Russia. Park, especially, emphasized on making preparations to produce an outcome that corresponds to common interests by combining Korea's Eurasian Initiative and Russia's Asia-Pacific Policy. After the summit, both presidents issued a joint communique and held a joint press conference.[74][75] Earlier, Park attended the G-20 Summit at St. Petersburg in September 2013, where she met Putin for a separate dialogue discussing economic cooperation and seeking support on North Korean issues. It marked the first Korea-Russia summit talk since Park's inauguration.[76] When Park met with Russian Minister for the Development of Russian Far East Viktor Ishaev, who headed the Russian delegation to Park's inaugural ceremony, she stated that Russia is one of Korea's key strategic partners, and the successful launch of the Naro rocket is the outcome of mutually beneficial relations and demonstrates that relations will grow stronger in the future. She also noted that Russia's active participation in the six-party talks will contribute to alleviating tension on the Korean Peninsula.[77]

Economic policy

Park announced her plan to build a "Creative Economy" on 5 June 2013, representing her vision for economic revival and job creation.[78]

In April, Park said "Timing is very important for our economic policy, jobs and livelihood mainly ordinary people should organize a supplementary budget in a timely manner."[79]

On 8 April 2014, Park signed the Australia–Korea Free Trade Agreement with Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott.[80]

Social policy

Park has proposed as one item on the national agenda the eradication of "Four Major Social Evils" (사 대회악: "sa dae hwe ak") – sexual violence, domestic violence, school violence and unsafe food. Statistics show that sexual violence and domestic violence are increasing in these years. Without referring to statistical data, aggravating school violence or food safety is a public concern in South Korea.[81][82] She also launched the National Unity Committee on 17 June with the purpose to advise the president in the process of resolving various conflicts in South Korean society and establishing a culture of co-existence and co-prosperity. Former Democratic United Party Advisor Han Kwang -ok was named as the head.[83]

National

On 18 May 2013, President Park Geun-hye attended the 33rd anniversary of the Gwangju massacre, and gave voice to sorrow for the victims' family members.[84]

Second year (February 2014 – February 2015)

Korea US President Obama Visiting 18 (14045206364)
Park Geun-hye and U.S. President Barack Obama, 25 April 2014

Foreign policy

Park proposed three steps to North Korea to help move toward the reunification of the Korean Peninsula, on 28 March in Dresden during her state visit to Germany.[85] And marking the Korean Peninsula's liberation from Japan's colonial rule Friday (8.15), President Park said, as anguish from the two Koreas' separation passes from one generation to the next, abnormalities on the divided peninsula have become the norm. The South Korean president then highlighted the urgent need to increase understanding and to help merge the lives of South and North Koreans for reunification. "Starting with jointly managing rivers and forests running through the two Koreas, we need to expand joint projects that benefit both sides. In that respect, I hope North Korea will attend the UN Convention on Biological Diversity conference to be held in South Korean city of Pyeongchang in October."[86] President Park Geun-hye has warned that a new nuclear test by North Korea could lead to, "a nuclear domino effect", that might provide its neighbors with a pretext to arm themselves with nuclear weapons, as she sat down with Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Gerard Baker in Seoul on 28 May.[87]

Government restructuring

On 18 May 2014, Park announced South Korea's "plans to break up its coastguard" after failing to respond well during the MV Sewol ferry disaster.[88] According to Park, "investigation and information roles would be transferred to the South Korea National Police while the rescue and salvage operation and ocean security roles would be transferred to the Department for National Safety, not to be confused with the Korean Ministry of Security and Public Administration, which will be newly established".[89] On 19 November 2014, the Korea Coast Guard and National Emergency Management Agency ceased control as the Ministry of Public Safety and Security was founded at the same day.[90]

Third year (February 2015 – February 2016)

Foreign policy

Presidente da Coreia do Sul, Park Geun-hye, visita o Brasil
Park Geun-hye with then-president of Brazil Dilma Rousseff

On 26 May 2015, Park urged the head of the Asian Development Bank to cooperate with South Korea and the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank[91] after South Korea had officially applied to join the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in late March 2015.[92]

Fourth and Fifth year (February 2016 – March 2017)

Foreign policy

South Korean President Park Geun-hye arrived in Iran, Mehrabad Airport, Tehran 07
Park Geun-hye being welcomed by Iran's business minister, Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh in Mehrabad Airport

On 1 May 2016, Park became the first South Korean president to visit Iran.[93][94] She was at the head of a 236-member delegation of businessmen and entrepreneurs during a three-day visit to Tehran to discuss bilateral trade and other matters of mutual interest.[95] She met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and held talks with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.[96] The two countries also signed 19 basic agreements to expand mutual cooperation over a variety of areas.[97] Earlier, Iran's President Rouhani emphasized that Iran and South Korea are set to boost their trade volume from the current $6 billion to $18 billion.

2016 general elections

Park suffered a serious setback in the 2016 general elections on 13 April 2016, as the Saenuri Party lost both its majority and its status as first party in the National Assembly.[98] Park had been criticized for her involvement in the elections and the party's nomination process,[99][100] and other Saenuri members blamed the pro-Park faction in the party for the defeat.[101] Park loyalists fared badly in constituency elections.[102] The result was seen to hinder the chances of Park's passing her proposed economic reforms,[103] and in the aftermath of the results the conservative The Chosun Ilbo stated that Park's "lame duck period has started earlier than any other administration in the past".[104]

Approval ratings

Park Geun-hye Presidential Approval Rating
Park Geun-hye's Presidential Job Approval Rating
Park Geun-hye Approval ratings by age
Approval ratings by age

In July 2013, public support for Park's method of governing state affairs reached up to 63 per cent, much higher than the percentage of the votes she had won in the presidential election, which was 52 per cent.[105] The Korean media explained that such a high level of support comes from Park's principled North Korea policy, constructive outcomes from visits to the United States and China, and distancing away from internal political disputes.[106]

By January 2015, Park's approval rating had fallen to 30 per cent, partly due to the sinking of MV Sewol and disputes with North Korea.[107] By September 2015, Park's approval had increased to 54 percent due to her diplomacy that defused a military standoff with North Korea,[108] but in the aftermath of her party's 2016 election loss, her ratings fell to 31.5 per cent, plunging 8.1 percentage points compared to the week before the election.[109]

On 4 November 2016, Park's ratings fell to 4–5% as details of her relationship with Choi Soon-sil were investigated and exposed in what became the 2016 South Korean political scandal.[110][111][112]

Arrest and detention

Park was arrested on 31 March 2017, and held in pre-trial detention at the Seoul Detention Center in Uiwang, Gyeonggi Province.[113][114] On 17 April 2017, Park was formally charged with abuse of power, bribery, coercion and leaking government secrets.[115] Park denied the charges during five rounds of interrogation while in prison.[115][116][117]

Trial

Prosecutors sought a 30-year prison term for Park, along with a fine of 118,500,000,000 (US$110,579,397).

On 6 April 2018, a three-judge panel of the Central District Court in Seoul sentenced Park to 24 years in prison and a fine of 18,000,000,000 (US$16,798,683), finding her guilty of 16 out of 18 charges brought before her.[118][119][120][121]

In June 2018 three former NIS directors (Lee Byung-kee, Lee Byung-ho, and Nam Jae-joon) who served in the Park administration were found guilty of bribing, related to the 2016 Park Geun-hye scandals. They illegally transferred money from the NIS budget to Park's presidential office. This illegally obtained money was used by Park and her associates for private use and to pay bribes.[122]

On 24 August 2018, Park's sentence was increased to 25 years in prison.[8]

Controversies

Parentage controversy

Park had been often criticized for being the "daughter of a dictator (Park Chung-hee)"[123][124] and for not actively supporting the Lee administration by supporters of Lee Myung-bak. A national-level poll conducted in July 2012 by a conservative newspaper reported that 59% of participants responded they did not believe Park was a "daughter of a dictator" while 36% agreed with the characterization.[125] Park Chung-Hee's status as a dictator became a contested topic after the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. GNP party elites saw this as their chance to revitalize Park Chung-Hee's image, focusing on South Korea's economic growth during his administration, thus steadily changing his public perception.[126]

During a recent interview with the Cheongju broadcast station CJB, Park commented regarding her stance that her father's May 16 coup was a "revolution to save the country" by stating, "I don't think it's the place of politicians to be fighting over whether [the events of 1961] were a 'coup d'etat' or a 'revolution'."[127] In a July 2012 survey, 50% of respondents answered that they disagreed with Park's assessment that her father's 1961 coup was "unavoidable, the best possible choice, and an advisable decision", as opposed to 37% that agreed.[128] From another survey conducted in July 2012, 42% of respondents agreed with her opinion that her father's 1961 coup was "unavoidable", while 46% disagreed.[129]

Because Park inherited strong regional and generational support from her father, as well as the legacy of his economic success, Park's opponents used her father as criticism against her.[126]

Bu-il foundation accusations

Park has faced much scrutiny over an educational foundation, Jeongsoo Scholarship Foundation, formerly known as Buil (in reference to the stock it controls in the newspaper "Busan Ilbo"), which her father, and later she, headed. Its original owners claimed in court they were forced to turn it over to her father.[130]

Party criticism

Liberty Korea Party assemblyman Nam Kyung-pil criticized the Park-centered nature of the party, regarding its preparation for the 2012 presidential election, and stated, "If we keep seeing the same situation where Park Geun-hye gives a press conference before a general meeting of lawmakers is held, and what she says then gets decided on as the party's position, then the public is going to think democracy has disappeared from the party."[131]

Furthermore, some have said Park's behavior in the lead-up to 2012 presidential election was a mixture of trend-following and corner-cutting—a stark contrast with the vehement insistence on principle that she showed when she opposed a revision of the plan for a multifunctional administrative city in Sejong City. For instance, Yim Tae-hee, another presidential candidate of the party, pointed to Park's voting down of a motion to arrest Chung Doo-un, a lawmaker implicated with bribery related to saving banks. Another candidate, Ahn Sang-soo, accused Park of "saying one thing yesterday and another today".[131]

Spokesman scandal

Park fired Yoon Chang-jung, a Blue House spokesman who was alleged by Washington police to have committed sexual assault against a young woman hired as an intern at the South Korean Embassy in Washington during President Park's first visit to the United States.[132] Park has been criticized for picking the wrong people for senior government posts.[133]

Election-meddling scandal

Just a week before the presidential election date, the opposing party alleged that the public servants from National Intelligence Service (NIS) have organized to promote Park's election campaign by way of posting online articles favorable to Park and slanderous to the opposing candidates. This political behavior by public servants is strictly prohibited by Korean Constitution.[134] To prove their allegation, the opposing Democratic Party, along with the police and Central Election Assistance Commission, swooped in the house where the alleged agent of NIS has resided. From there, the 29-year-old female agent, later known as Ha-Young Kim, who was running an illegal online election campaign operation such as spreading slanderous postings about the opposing candidate had locked herself in. The police could not force to enter the house and the standoff lasted for three days, provoking a tense political standoff. The opposition accused the intelligence service of blocking an investigation. Park and her party accused the opposition of harassing the woman.[135] Park even said the standoff of the self-lock-in was a violation of a female right in the presidential candidate debate that took place three days before the election.

Later that night of the presidential debate, Kim Yong-pan, then the chief of Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, publicly announced there was no evidence of illegal online postings from the collected laptop of the female agent. This announcement, which took place three days before the election, was believed to have significantly affected the outcome of the presidential election according to the opposing party. After months of probes into the alleged election meddling, the prosecution concluded in mid-June 2013 that Won Sei-hoon, then NIS chief who headed the intelligence agency for around four years under former President Lee Myung-bak, ordered agents to conduct online smear campaign against opposition presidential candidates. The special investigation drew a conclusion that the agents systemically intervened in domestic politics by writing thousands of postings on politics in cyberspace through hundreds of different user IDs. Kim Yong-pan, then chief of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency (SMPA), was prosecuted without physical detention on charges of abusing his authority to hamper police investigation into the case.[136] CCTV conversation between the computer analysts who were analyzing the laptop at police revealed that the police already knew there were illegal online postings against the opposing party's candidates, but the chief of SMPA publicly announced otherwise, an announcement that indicates intentional meddling into the presidential election.

The investigation and the trial at court are on-going, and Park faces a political blow. However, the leading Saenuri party along with government leaders has attempted to dodge its political fall-out. Their effort has involved tipping a rumor to a major conservative media, Chosun Ilbo, about an extramarital child of the Chae Dong-wook, former Prosecutor General, who has approved the prosecution of Won Se-hoon and Kim Yong-pan, which eventually led to his resignation.[137] Yoon Suk-ryul, the director of the special investigation team, which was leading the probe into the election meddling, was fired and returned to his original position, head of Yeoju branch Supreme Prosecutors Office. The investigation of his team has further revealed that the NIS is suspected of having posted 55,689 messages on Twitter for three months until the presidential election.[138]

Whether or not the election meddling of the NIS by way of online posts has actually affected the outcome of the presidential election is controversial. However, the false announcement by Kim Yong-pan, then chief of the SMPA, has appeared to do so. Had the police announced honestly, 14% of the electorate who voted for Park said they would have voted for Moon Jae-In, the first runner-up of the election.[139]

Lack of communication

Park has been criticized for holding press conferences with questions and answers submitted in advance. As of 11 January 2015, she held press conferences four times since she took office in February 2013. Among the four press conferences, three of them were public speeches without questions and answers. Even in the remaining press conference, the questions were submitted in advance and she read prepared answers. Her opponents labeled her as "No communication" (불통, Bultong).[140][141]

November 2015 protests

On 15 November 2015, around 80,000 anti-government protesters clashed with government forces on the streets of Seoul, demanding that Park step down, with many of the protesters chanting "Park Geun-hye, step down". The rally was triggered by Park's adopting business-friendly labour policies and a decision to require middle and high schools to use only state-issued history textbooks in classes starting in 2017,[142] combined with plans to make labour markets more flexible by giving employers more leeway in dismissing workers. Security forces fired tear gas and sprayed water cannons into the crowd when protesters attempted to break through police barricades.[143]

Censorship

In the wake of the April 2014 capsize of the Sewol ferry, public outcry arose over the government's handling of the situation. In response, the Park administration established a commission to monitor and prosecute social media critics of Park.[144] Tatsuya Kato, Japanese journalist who was a Seoul Bureau chief of South Korea at Sankei Shimbun was indicted on charges of defamation for reporting the relationship of President Park Geun-hye and Choi Soon-sil's husband, Chung Yoon-hoi, by the Supreme Prosecutors' Office of the Republic of Korea after the MV Sewol sank.[145][146]

Controversy about violating Public Official Election Act

On 25 June 2015 Park said that "Betrayal which breaks the trust shouldn't be accepted in politics and this should be punished by election with people's own hands". This mention was aimed to Yu Seungmin who was a member of Saenuri Party. Her mention was criticized by professor Jo Guk and politician Moon Jae-in because it had a purpose of losing Yu Seungmin's election which is protected by Public Official Election Act. But the National Election Commission decided not to treat Park's mention as a violation of Public Official Election Act.[147]

Choi Soon-sil scandal and impeachment

In late October 2016, investigations into Park's relationship with Choi Soon-sil, daughter of the late Church of Eternal Life cult leader and President Park's mentor Choi Tae-min began.[148][149]

Several news media including JTBC and the Hankyoreh reported that Choi, who has no official government position, had access to confidential documents and information for the president, and acted as a close confidant for the president. Choi and President Park's senior staff including both Ahn Jong-bum and Jeong Ho-sung used their influence to extort ₩77.4 billion (approximately $75 million) from Korean chaebols—family-owned large business conglomerates—and set up two culture and sports-related foundations, Mir and K-sports foundations.[150][151][152] Choi is also accused of having influenced Ewha Womans University to change their admission criteria in order for her daughter Chung Yoo-ra to be given a place there.[153] Ahn Jong-bum and Jeong Ho-sung, top presidential aides, were arrested for abuse of power and helping Choi; they denied wrongdoing and claimed that they were simply following President Park's orders.[154]

On 25 October 2016, Park publicly acknowledged her close ties with Choi. On 28 October, Park dismissed key members of her top office staff while her approval ratings fell to 4%.[112] Her approval rating ranged from 1 to 3% for Korean citizens under 60 years of age, while it remained higher, at 13%, for the over 60 age group.[155] It was the worst ever approval rate in Korean history and is worse than the 6% approval rating of former President Kim Young-sam, who was widely blamed for forcing the Korean economy into the 1997 Asian financial crisis.[110][111][156] The controversy led to mass protests and rallies in October and November 2016 calling for her resignation.[157] On 12 November, more than 1 million citizens participated in the protests at Gwanghwamun Square close to presidential residence demanding President Park's resignation or impeachment.[158] On 19 November, another 1 million people participated in the national protest after Park refused to help in the investigation.[159][160]

Park then fired a number of her cabinet members and the prime minister. In particular, the sacking of the prime minister Hwang Kyo-ahn resulted in a controversy, due to the claim that his firing was carried out via a text message.[161][162] The Supreme Prosecutors' Office of Korea (SPO), in laying charges against Choi and two former presidential aides, have alleged that President Park colluded with the three in certain criminal activities. The president would be questioned by prosecutors, the first time this has occurred with a serving South Korean president.[163][164][165] Following the scandal, there were a series of massive demonstrations that started in the first week of November 2016.[166] On 29 November 2016, Park offered to resign as President, and invited the National Assembly to arrange a transfer of power. The opposition parties rejected the offer, accusing Park of attempting to avoid the process of impeachment.[167]

The National Assembly instead filed a motion for impeachment, which was put to a vote on 9 December 2016[168] and passed with 234 supports.[169][170][171] Due to the ratification of her impeachment proposal, her presidential powers and duties were suspended, and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn assumed those powers and duties as Acting President.[5] Park was finally ousted from office by the Constitutional Court on 10 March 2017. The decision was unanimous, 8–0 in favour of impeachment, as announced shortly thereafter.[172] On 26 March 2017, South Korean prosecutors announced they were seeking an arrest warrant against Park.[173] This warrant was granted by the Seoul Central District Court on 30 March 2017 and Park was arrested later that day.[174]

Electoral history

National Assembly races (1998 to present)

1998

15th National Assembly of the Republic of Korea elections, 1998 by-election, Dalseong, Daegu[175]
Party Candidate Votes %
Grand National Park Geun-hye 28,937 64
National Congress Eom Sam-tak 16,355 36
Total votes 45,292 100
Grand National hold

2000

16th National Assembly of the Republic of Korea elections, 2000, Dalseong, Daegu[176]
Party Candidate Votes %
Grand National Park Geun-hye 37,805 61
Millennium Democratic Eom Sam-tak 23,744 38
Total votes 62,738 100
Grand National hold

2004

17th National Assembly of the Republic of Korea elections, 2004, Dalseong, Daegu[176]
Party Candidate Votes %
Grand National Park Geun-hye 45,298 70
Uri Yun Yong-hui 15,014 23
Democratic Labor Heo Gyeong-do 4,367 7
Total votes 65,633 100
Grand National hold

2008

18th National Assembly of the Republic of Korea elections, 2008, Dalseong, Daegu[177]
Party Candidate Votes %
Grand National Park Geun-hye 50,149 89
Democratic Labor No Yun-jo 5,080 9
PUFP Im Jung-heon 1,386 2
Total votes 57,416 100
Grand National hold

2012

19th National Assembly of the Republic of Korea elections, 2012, Proportional Representative[178][179]
Party Candidate Votes %
Saenuri Park Geun-hye 9,130,651 43
Saenuri hold

Presidential (2012)

 Summary of the 19 December 2012 South Korean presidential election results
Candidate Party Votes %
Park Geun-hye Saenuri Party 15,773,128 51.55
 
Moon Jae-in Democratic United Party 14,692,632 48.02
 
Kang Ji-won Independent 53,303 0.17
 
Kim Soon-ja Independent 46,017 0.15
 
Kim So-yeon Independent 16,687 0.05
 
Park Jong-sun Independent 12,854 0.04
 
Invalid/blank votes 126,838
Total 30,721,459 100
Registered voters/turnout 40,507,842 75.84
Source: National Election Commission

Publications

Books

  • 절망은 나를 단련시키고 희망은 나를 움직인다 [Despair Trains Me and Hope Moves Me] (in Korean). Wisdom House. July 2007. ISBN 978-89-6086-033-9.
  • 나의 어머니 육영수 [My mother, Yuk Young-soo] (in Korean). People&People. January 2001. ISBN 978-89-85541-54-1.
  • 결국 한 줌, 결국 한 점 [In the End Only a Fistful, One Speck] (in Korean). Busan Ilbo Books. October 1998. ISBN 978-89-87236-25-4.
  • 고난을 벗 삼아 진실을 등대삼아 [Befriending Adversity, Truth as the Guiding Light] (in Korean). Busan Ilbo Books. October 1998. ISBN 978-89-87236-24-7.
  • 내 마음의 여정 [Journey of My Mind] (in Korean). Hansol Media. May 1995. ISBN 978-89-85656-50-4.
  • 평범한 가정에 태어났더라면 [If I Were Born in an Ordinary Family] (in Korean). Nam Song. November 1993. OCLC 33010951.

Articles

See also

References

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  175. ^ An Jaeseung(안재승); Choe Ikrim(최익림); Hong Dae-sun(홍대선); Sin Seung-geun(신승근) (3 April 1998). 한나라 재보선 4곳 석권 [GNP won all four seats of by-election]. The Hankyoreh (in Korean). Retrieved 16 May 2012. 대구 달성에선 이날 자정 현재 82%개표 상황에서 박근혜 후보가 2만8937표(51.5%)를 얻어 1만 6355표(29.1%)를 얻은 엄삼탁 국민회의 후보를 크게 앞지르며 당선됐다. [In Dalseong Daegu, 82% votes were counted by 12 am. And Park Geun-hye got 28,937 (52%) votes, compared to 16,355 (29%) votes for Eom Samtak of Democratic Party. Park has been elected by wide margin.]
  176. ^ a b "중앙선거관리위원회, 역대 선거정보 시스템" [NEC, past election result]. Archived from the original on 18 February 2013. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
  177. ^ "중앙선거관리위원회, 18대 국회의원 선거관리 시스템" [National Election Committee, 18th legislative election information]. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
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Footnotes

  1. ^ Her powers and duties suspended since 9 December 2016 by the National Assembly until final impeachment verdict on 10 March 2017

External links

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Yuk Young-soo
First Lady of South Korea
Acting

16 August 1974–26 October 1979
Succeeded by
Hong Gi
National Assembly of South Korea
Preceded by
Gim Suk-won
Member of the National Assembly
from Dalseong County

3 April 1998–29 May 2012
Succeeded by
Lee Jong-jin
Party political offices
Preceded by
Choe Byeong-ryeol
Leader of the Grand National Party
23 March 2004–10 July 2006
Succeeded by
Kang Jae-sup
Preceded by
Hong Jun-pyo
as Leader of the Grand National Party
Leader of the Saenuri Party
17 December 2011–15 May 2012
Succeeded by
Hwang Woo-yea
Political offices
Preceded by
Lee Myung-bak
President of South Korea
25 February 2013–10 March 2017
Suspended 9 December 2016–10 March 2017
Succeeded by
Hwang Kyo-ahn
Acting
2012 South Korean presidential election

Presidential elections were held in South Korea on 19 December 2012. They were the sixth presidential elections since democratization and the establishment of the Sixth Republic, and was held under a first-past-the-post system, in which there was a single round of voting and the candidate receiving the highest number of votes was elected. Under the South Korean constitution, presidents are restricted to a single five-year term in office. The term of incumbent president Lee Myung-bak ended on 24 February 2013. According to the Korea Times, 30.7 million people voted with turnout at 75.8%. Park Geun-hye of the Saenuri party was elected the first female South Korean president with 51.6% of the vote opposed to 48.0% for her opponent Moon Jae-in. Park's share of the vote was the highest won by any candidate since the beginning of free and fair direct elections in 1987.In 2017, following Park's impeachment and removal from office, Moon would go on to succeed her as the 12th President of South Korea following a second, successful bid for the presidency.

2016 South Korean political scandal

The 2016 South Korean political scandal (Korean: 박근혜·최순실 게이트, Park Geun-hye–Choi Soon-sil gate) involves the influence of Choi Soon-sil, the daughter of a shaman-esque cult leader Choi Tae-min, over President Park Geun-hye of South Korea.Widespread coverage of this South Korean political scandal began in late October 2016. On November 29, Park offered to begin the process of removing herself from power. On December 9, Park was impeached, and then Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn became the acting president. On December 21, a Special Prosecution Team led by Park Young Soo began to investigate the Choi Soon-sil scandal. On March 10, 2017, The Constitutional Court of Korea ruled to uphold the impeachment of President Park Geun-Hye. All 8 judges agreed that President Park abused her power. A new election was held 60 days after with Moon Jae-in, a member of the Democratic Party of Korea, winning over 41% of the popular vote in the election.

2016–17 South Korean protests

2016–17 South Korean protests (The Candle Protest), also known as Candlelight Struggle (Korean: 촛불항쟁) or Candlelight Revolution (Korean: 촛불혁명), were a series of protests against President Park Geun-hye that occurred throughout South Korea from November 2016 to March 2017. After the initial demonstrations on October 26, 2016, hundreds of thousands of South Korean protesters denounced the Park administration's political scandal and called for the resignation of Park Geun-hye.Meanwhile, a series of protests led by the supporters of President Park occurred around the country as well. After the impeachment of Park Geun-hye on corruption charges in December, the pro-Park rallies mobilized thousands of protesters for counter protests. In February 2017, the Liberty Korea Party, at the time the ruling party of South Korea, claimed that the size of pro-Park rallies have begun to overwhelm the size of anti-Park rallies.

China–South Korea Free Trade Agreement

The China–South Korea Free Trade Agreement is a free trade agreement between China and South Korea.

Negotiations on the agreement started in May 2012. By July 2014 there had been 12 rounds of talks.On November 10, 2014, the Agreement was made official. South Korean president Park Geun-hye stated that her government would make efforts to enter the agreement into force as soon as possible.On June 1, 2015, China and South Korea signed a free trade agreement, which went into force on December 20, 2015.China accounted for 24.8 percent of South Korea’s total exports in 2018, according to the Korea International Trade Association (KITA)

Cho Won-jin

Cho Won-jin (born 7 January 1959) is a South Korean conservative pro-Park Geun-hye politician who served as the break-away Saenuri Party's presidential candidate in the 2017 presidential election. He had been a member of the Liberty Korea Party prior to that, representing Dalseo District, Daegu in the National Assembly since first being elected in the 2008 elections. Cho vowed to become "a patriotic president to set the Republic of Korea straight", and pledged to boost the status of the country's war heroes and "correct distortions" in public education allegedly resulting from the domination of teaching unions, traditionally leftist. He is a pro-China and supports Chinese President Xi Jinping.

He had also been lived and worked in China for over 15 years. He supports common economic development between China and South Korea.

Choi Soon-sil

Choi Soon-sil (Korean pronunciation: [t͡ɕʰø.sun.ɕil]; born June 23, 1956) is the prime person of interest in the 2016 South Korean political scandal involving her influence over the 11th President of South Korea, Park Geun-hye.

Choi Tae-min

Choi Tae-min (5 May 1912 – 1 May 1994) was the leader of a South Korean cult combining elements of Buddhism, Christianity, and traditional Korean Shamanism. Choi, originally a Buddhist monk, then a convert to Roman Catholicism, was married six times. He was the mentor of the impeached South Korean president, Park Geun-hye (the daughter of former president Park Chung-hee), until his death in 1994. He allegedly used his relationship with Park to solicit bribes from government officials and businessmen. In late 2016, a scandal involving his daughter, Choi Soon-sil, broke out, with allegations that she too has exerted undue influence over President Park.

Chung Yoon-hoi

Chung Yoon-hoi (born 1955) is a South Korean businessman. He was the chief of staff to president Park Geun-hye when she was a second-term lawmaker.Tatsuya Kato, former Seoul bureau chief of the Sankei Shimbun newspaper, wrote an article alleging that after the sinking of MV Sewol ferry, president Park was incommunicado for seven important hours, and could have been with Chung at that time. However, he was accused by Korean prosecutors for defamation of President Park.Chung was previously married to Korean shaman Choi Soon-sil.. His daughter, Chung Yoo-ra, is a gold medalists in equestrian.

First Lady of South Korea

The First Lady of the Republic of Korea (informally referred to as FLOSK or FLOTROK), commonly known as the First Lady of South Korea, is the wife of the President of South Korea. Meanwhile the wife of the Prime Minister of South Korea is the Second Lady of South Korea.

During the administration of President Park Chung-hee, his daughter, Park Geun-hye, assumed the duties of First Lady after her mother, Yuk Young-soo. The first, and to date, only female president Park Geun-hye was never married in office so there is still yet to be a First Gentleman of Korea.

The current First Lady is Kim Jung-sook, wife of President Moon Jae-in, in office since 10 May 2017.

Gyeongsang Province

Gyeongsang (Korean: 경상도, Gyeongsang-do; Korean pronunciation: [kjʌŋ.saŋ.do]) was one of the eight provinces of Korea during the Joseon dynasty. Gyeongsang was located in the southeast of Korea.

The provincial capital was Daegu. The region was the birthplace of the Kingdom of Silla. The region also has a significant role in modern Korean history, since six previous South Korean presidents (Park Chung-hee, Roh Tae-woo, Chun Doo-hwan, Kim Young-sam, Roh Moo-hyun and Park Geun-hye), as well as the current president (Moon Jae-in), were born in the Gyeongsang region.

Today, the region is divided into 5 administrative divisions: the three independent cities of Busan, Daegu and Ulsan, and the two provinces of Gyeongsangbuk-do and Gyeongsangnam-do. The largest city in the region is Busan, followed by Daegu. Sub-regionally, the region is also divided into Gyeongbuk and Gyeongnam. Gyeongbuk consists of Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do, while Gyeongnam consists of Busan, Ulsan and Gyeongsangnam-do.

Hwang Kyo-ahn

Hwang Kyo-ahn (Korean: 황교안; Hanja: 黃敎安; RR: Hwang Gyo-an; born 15 April 1957) is a South Korean politician and prosecutor who served as the 40th Prime Minister of South Korea from 18 June 2015 to 11 May 2017, having previously served as Justice Minister.

In 1981, he passed the judicial examination and in December of 1982, he started his career as prosecutor with the Chuncheon District Prosecutor's Office. He worked as a public security inspector with the Supreme Public Prosecutors' Office and the Seoul District Public Prosecutor's Office. He also wrote a book on the national security law called the "Public Security Investigation Textbook." After serving as the Chief Inspector of the Busan High Prosecutors' Office in 2011, he served as an attorney at the Pacific Law Firm from September 19, 2011 to January 2013.

In 2013, he became the 63rd Minister of Justice . During his tenure as a minister of justice, he played a leading role in the investigation and conviction of Lee Seok-ki, and the of dissolution of the Unified Progressive Party.He was nominated as the 44th Prime Minister in May 2015 and assumed office on June 18, 2015. On December 9, 2016, President Park Geun-hye's proclamation of impeachment passed, and he assumed the role of president until May 9, 2017.

In January, 2019, he joined the Liberty Korea Party, and was elected to the presidency on February 27th.

He served as Acting President of South Korea following the impeachment and removal of President Park Geun-hye by the Constitutional Court of Korea on 10 March 2017, until the election of Moon Jae-in on 9 May 2017. He had already taken over Park's presidential powers and duties on 9 December 2016 when impeachment proceedings were launched against her by the National Assembly and she was suspended from the powers and duties of the office.

Impeachment of Park Geun-hye

The impeachment of Park Geun-hye, President of South Korea, was the culmination of a political scandal involving interventions to the presidency from her aide. The impeachment vote took place on 9 December 2016, with 234 members of the 300-member National Assembly voting in favour of the impeachment and temporary suspension of Park Geun-hye's presidential powers and duties. Thus, Hwang Kyo-ahn, then Prime Minister of South Korea, became Acting President while the Constitutional Court of Korea was due to determine whether to accept the impeachment. The court upheld the impeachment in a unanimous 8–0 decision on 10 March 2017, removing Park from office. The regularly scheduled presidential election was advanced to 9 May 2017, and Moon Jae-in, former leader of the Democratic Party, was elected as Park's permanent successor.

Park was formally sentenced to 24 years in prison on 6 April 2018 after being found guilty of abuse of power and coercion.

Korea Vision Party

The Korea Vision Party (Korean: 국민생각, Gungmin Saenggak, "National Thought"), more commonly known as the K Party, is a center-rightist political party in South Korea. It was founded on 12 February 2012 by Park Se-il, president of the Hansun Foundation, a conservative think tank. There are concerns that the K Party will split the conservative vote, though Park Se-il met with Saenuri leader Park Geun-hye on 23 February, with Park Geun-hye commenting that "If a party holds the same values and orientation, we are open to partnering". The party aims to field over 200 candidates in the April elections, favoring the selection of women and younger politicians. In an opinion poll conducted on 24–25 February 2012, the K Party received a support level of 1.4%, out-ranking the more established New Progressive Party. Analysts have nonetheless raised questions over the ability of the party to secure seats, even if sitting Assembly members do defect.The party has attempted to court defecting members of the larger Saenuri Party in the run-up to the 2012 Assembly elections, with a particular focus on loyalists of Lee Myung-bak who have been alienated by the rise of Park Geun-hye. Commentators have speculated that pro-Lee lawmakers such as Lee Jae-oh may defect to the K Party en masse, and on March 9, 2012, the former Saenuri Party politician Jeon Yeo-ok defected to the K Party and became its first lawmaker.

Korean history textbook controversies

Korean textbook controversy refers to controversial content in government-approved history textbooks used in the secondary education (high schools) in South Korea. The controversies primarily concern portrayal of North Korea and the description of the regime of the South Korean president and dictator Park Chung-hee.

Liberty Korea Party

The Liberty Korea Party (Korean: 자유한국당; Hanja: 自由韓國黨; RR: Jayuhangukdang) is a conservative political party in South Korea that is described variously as right-wing, right-wing populist, or far-right. Until February 2017, it was

known as the Saenuri Party (Korean: 새누리당), and before that as the Hannara Party (Korean: 한나라당; lit. Grand National Party) from 1997 to 2012, both of which are still colloquially used to refer to the party. The party formerly held a plurality of seats in the 20th Assembly before its ruling status was transferred to the Democratic Party of Korea on December 27, 2016, following the creation of the splinter Bareun Party by former Saenuri members who distanced themselves from President Park Geun-hye in the 2016 South Korean political scandal.

Moon Jae-in

Moon Jae-in (Korean: 문재인; Hanja: 文在寅; Korean pronunciation: [mundʑɛin] or [mun] [t͡ɕɛin]; born January 24, 1953) is a South Korean politician serving as President of South Korea since 2017. He was elected after the impeachment of Park Geun-hye as the candidate of the Democratic Party of Korea.A former student activist, human rights lawyer and chief of staff to then-president Roh Moo-hyun, Moon served as leader of Democratic Party of Korea (2015–2016) and a member of the 19th National Assembly (2012–2016). He was also a candidate for the Democratic United Party in the 2012 presidential election in which he lost narrowly to Park Geun-hye.

As President, Moon Jae-in has met with North Korean chairman Kim Jong-un at inter-Korean summits in April, May, and September 2018. On June 30, 2019, Moon met with both North Korean chairman Kim Jong-un and United States president Donald Trump at the Korean Demilitarized Zone, making him the third South Korean president to meet their North Korean counterpart.

Opinion polling for the 2012 South Korean presidential election

This article is a list of opinion polls that have been taken for the 2012 South Korean presidential election. It is divided into polls for the presidential election itself, and polls for the primaries of the two main parties, Saenuri and the Democratic United Party. Two-way polls are used to demonstrate the popularity of one candidate with respect to another, but the election itself will have no run-off round and will be held under a system of First Past the Post. The polls are ordered by date, with the newest at the top.

Our Republican Party

The Our Republican Party (Korean: 우리공화당), formerly the Korean Patriots' Party (Korean: 대한애국당), is a right-wing to far-right political party in South Korea known primarily for its Pro-Park Geun-hye stance. It was formed following a split within the New Saenuri Party. The party strongly supports former president Park Geun-hye.In June 2019, the party elevated Hong Moon-jong, a National Assembly member who left the Liberty Korea Party, as its leader along with incumbent Cho Won-jin. Originally, the party planned to change its name as New Republican Party (신공화당), but faced a legal issue. On 24 June, the party changed the name to Our Republican Party. The party claimed that the new name came from Park Geun-hye herself.

Leaders (acting)
Presidential candidates
Presidents
Floor leaders
Preceding parties
Splinter parties
Related articles
Liberals
(Pro-Govt Primary)
Conservatives
(GNP Primary)
Progressives
(DLP Primary)
Independents
Resigned
Leaders of Korea
Korean government-
in-exile
(1919–1948)
Divided Korea
(since 1945)

Languages

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