South Korea may elect first woman president - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

South Korea may elect first woman president

Park Geun-Hye attempts to become the first woman president in South Korea's history, and hopes to erase the fear of the legacy she comes from. (Source: CNN) Park Geun-Hye attempts to become the first woman president in South Korea's history, and hopes to erase the fear of the legacy she comes from. (Source: CNN)

SEOUL (CNN) - Park Geun-Hye attempts to become the first woman president in South Korea's history, and hopes to erase the fear of the legacy she comes from.

The daughter of a brutal dictator or the child of South Korea's economic savior, the viewpoint of voters comes from how they view her father.

Her father, Park Chung-Hee, seized power in a military coup in 1961, changing the constitution to cement power, and cracked down on all opposition and division. He is often associated and accused of human rights abuses.

Supporters of Park Chung- Hee, however, point to his role in rebuilding South Korea post-Korean War, transforming the economy and sparking growth.

The daughter of the former President, assassinated in 1979 by his security chief, apologized for those hurt by his dictatorial rule in September. Previously she had defended his actions.

"I understand that the end does not justify the means," Park said. "This should be a lasting value for democracy."

Park herself was attacked during an election rally in 2006. She uses the scar on her lower right cheek in campaign commercials "wanting to heal the scars of the people."

Park's life, once as the First Lady after the assassination of her mother in 1974, has been shaped by politics in South Korea. Some political experts state she is struggling to leave the shadow of her father.

"It's a big question whether she wants to and whether she can afford it," said Kookmin University Professor Andrei Lankov. "For most people who are supporting her she is above all the daughter of her father."

Despite a very traditional culture in South Korea, Park has never married and has no children.

Recent polls show her in a good position to become South Korea's first female president.

Her opposition is liberal candidate Moon Jae-In. He was most recently the Chief of Staff for the late President Roh Moo-Hyun.

Formerly imprisoned for his human rights activism against his opponents' father, he was also a Special Forces commando and is a black belt in Judo.

He sells himself as the down to earth choice.

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