On the Record

South Korea’s 2012 Presidential Elections: Continuity Over Change

Richard C. Bush

South Korea has elected its first female president. A conservative, Park Geun-hye is the daughter of Park Chung-hee, the dictator who led the nation from 1961 until 1979. Park defeated liberal rival Moon Jae-in and will be tasked with leading the country through a number of significant issues including a slowing economy, an aging population and the dicey relationship with their northern neighbor, North Korea. Park, says Richard Bush, senior fellow and director of the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies, has a bumpy road ahead.