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“South Korea elects 1st female president”


The daughter of South Korea’s former military ruler has won the country’s presidential election, promising in a speech to her supporters to heal a “divided society”.

The win over her liberal rival Moon Jae-in on Wednesday makes Park Geun-hye the country’s first female head of state.

The office of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak congratulated party colleague Park on her win, even before officials had finished counting votes.

The 60-year old conservative Park will now return to the presidential palace where she served as her father’s first lady in the 1970s, after her mother was assassinated by a North Korea-backed gunman.

With 92 per cent of the national vote counted, Park had an insurmountable lead of 51.6 per cent to the 47.9 per cent of Moon, her liberal rival, according to the country’s election commission.

Her raucous, jubilant supporters braved sub-zero temperatures to chant her name and wave South Korean flags outside her house. When she reached her party headquarters, Park was greeted with shouts of “president”.

An elated Park reached into the crowd to grasp hands of supporters wearing red scarves, her party’s colour.

“This is a victory brought by the people’s hope for overcoming crisis and economic recovery,” she said. “I will be a president who fulfills in every way the promises I made to the people.”

Combined figures from the networks released after polls closed gave Ms Park 50.1% of the vote over Mr Moon’s 48.9%.

“This is a victory brought by the people’s hope for overcoming crisis and economic recovery,” she told supporters in the capital Seoul.

Economic growth has fallen to about 2% after several decades in which it averaged 5.5%.

Source: QuestCinq and Agencies

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