Major Leaguer

  • 16 Sep - 22 Sep, 2017
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Park Geun-hye

Park Geun-hye, the first female president of South Korea, is the daughter of former South Korean President Park Chung-hee, who ruled the country from 1961 to 1979. Park earned an engineering degree from the Sogang University in 1974. The same year, her mother was killed during an assassination attempt on Park Chung-hee. Subsequently, Park Geun-hye, at age 22, was instated as acting first lady of South Korea.

Following her service as first lady, Park continued to flourish in the South Korean political world, she was appointed vice chairperson of the Grand National Party in 1998, and six years later she won election as the Party's chairperson. She began serving as a member of the National Assembly in 1998. She would be re-elected four times thereafter, serving in five consecutive national assemblies.

During the period 2004-2006 she twice became the chairperson of the party and played an instrumental role in election efforts that saw the party overcome several odds to achieve significant electoral gains in local elections. In the 2006 elections the party acquired majority. The media gave her the epithet, “Queen of Elections”.

Following a historic election on December 19, 2012, Park defeated 59-year-old liberal opponent and former human rights lawyer Moon Jae-in for the South Korean presidency and became South Korea's first female president and took seat in February 2013.

In October 2016, she became embroiled in a corruption scandal which ultimately led to her political downfall. Park was accused of extortion, abuse of power, bribery, and allowing her friend Choi Soon-sil, daughter of Choi Tae-min, the late leader of a religious cult and spiritual adviser to the Park family, access to classified information. Park apologised for the scandal on three occasions, and asserted that she had not personally gained from her actions.

Park was honoured with an Honorary Doctorate in Literature by the Chinese Culture University, in Taipei, Taiwan in 1987. In 2008, she received Honorary Doctorate in Science from ‘KAIST’ in Daejeon, South Korea and Honorary Doctorate in Politics from ‘Pukyong National University’ in Busan, South Korea. In 2010, the ‘Sogang University’ in Seoul, South Korea bestowed her with Honorary Doctorate in Politics.