Vaters Tochter und Mutters Tochter - Park Geunhye als Anführerin des konservativen Lagers in Korea

  • Eun-Jeung Lee (Autor/in)

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Park Geunhye is one of the most prominent candidates for the Korean presidential elections in December 2007. Her name is strongly associated with that of her father Park Cheung Hee, during whose authoritarian rule South Korea became a modern industrialized nation. In public Park Geunhye often stresses the fact that she is Park Chung Hee's daughter and she never even tries to distance herself from the darker aspectes of her father's reign. Her rise to political prominence illustrates the paradoxical nature of South Korean political culture since democratization in 1987. Only 10 years later the Korean economy was drawn into the East Asian financial crisis. Its severe impact on the Korean economy was one of the causes of an emerging nostalgia for the former dictator Park Chung Hee - and it was his daughter who gained most from this nostalgia. Therefore she has not made the least effort to step out of the shadow of her father and has remained the "princess of the late dictator". In this role she finds support among conservative and ultra-conservative voters, i.e. by at most 30 percent of the electorate, and only as long as the nostalgia for her father continues. Yet, even if she can muster 30 percent support, this will not be sufficient to win the presidential elections. Therefore, she would have to win over other sections of the electorate, which is difficult as long as she sticks to her princess' role. Here lies the biggest dilemma for Park Geunhye and her political future.