Asia

Park Geun-hye nominated for South Korea presidential race

  • 20 August 2012
  • From the section Asia
Park Geun-hye celebrates at a national convention of the ruling Saenuri Party in Goyang, north of Seoul August 20, 2012.
Ms Park sought the presidency in 2007, but her party nominated Lee Myung-bak

The daughter of South Korea's former leader, Park Chung-hee, has been nominated as the presidential candidate of the current governing party.

If 60-year-old Park Geun-hye, from the ruling conservative Saenuri Party, wins the presidential polls, she would be South Korea's first female president.

Her father ruled South Korea from 1961 to 1979 until he was assassinated by his own spy chief.

President Lee Myung-bak is to step down after a mandatory single term.

'Opposition primary'

Ms Park lost both parents in separate assassination plots and has described herself as "married" to the country.

She sought the presidency in 2007, but her party nominated Mr Lee. Her nomination for December's polls marks the first time a woman has been chosen as a presidential candidate by one of South Korea's main political parties.

Ms Park has said she wants to introduce more trust into relations with North Korea, and reset the country's wealth distribution, reports the BBC's Lucy Williamson in Seoul.

The growing wealth gap is a big issue in this election, particularly for the nation's younger voters, whom Ms Park will need to win over to gain the presidency, our correspondent says.

It is not clear yet who Ms Park will be up against. South Korea's main opposition party holds its own primary this week.

But her toughest rival may come from outside the party system, our correspondents says.

The software mogul and activist, Ahn Cheol-soo, has yet to declare his candidacy, but many opinion polls have suggested that, were he to do so, the race could be very close.

The unmarried Ms Park, who is described as intensely private despite her bids for public office, lives in a modest home in Seoul.

She served as South Korea's first lady for five years after her mother was shot dead in 1974.

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