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S. Korea elects first female President

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Seoul: Park Geun-hye will make an emotional return to South Korea’s Presidential Mansion in February as South Korea’s first female leader, more than three decades after she left it following the assassination of her father.

Park scored a decisive victory in theDecember 19 vote, ensuring that South Korea’s conservatives, who pushed through a free trade agreement with the United States, hold on to the powerful presidency for a second consecutive time after the end of incumbent Lee Myung-bak’s mandatory single term in office.

She has promised greater “economic democratization” for a country that has achieved astonishing success in rising from the ashes of the 1950-53 Korean War to become the world’s 14th largest economy, but where the rewards have been thinly spread.

Park has compared herself to tough former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and to current German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Europe’s most powerful politician.