Voters Back Park Geun-hye as 1st Woman President

      February 24, 2011 10:41

      Park Geun-hye

      Former Grand National Party chairwoman Park Geun-hye has the lead among hopefuls for the next presidential election with 35.4 percent. Park, who has held that position for the last three years, was favored by Koreans across all age groups and regional affiliations in a Gallup poll published Wednesday.

      A distant second was former health minister Rhyu Si-min of the People's Participation Party (6.6 percent), followed by Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon of the GNP (6.3 percent), former prime minister Han Myeong-sook of the Democratic Party (5.2 percent), DP Chairman Sohn Hak-kyu (5 percent), Gyeonggi Province Governor Kim Moon-soo (3.3 percent), minority Liberty Forward Party leader Lee Hoi-chang (3.1 percent), former GNP leader Chung Mong-joon (3 percent) and ex-unification minister Chung Dong-young (2.9 percent).

      Asked why they support Park, 17.5 percent of respondents said it is time for Korea to have a female president or simply because she is a woman. Some 10.5 percent said because of the accomplishments of her father, President Park Chung-hee. Other reasons were integrity (10.4 percent), political experience (7.9 percent), conviction (6.2 percent) and trustworthiness (5 percent).

      "It appears that a mixture of public disappointment with male politicians and nostalgia for Park Chung-hee came into play along with the fact that she is a woman," Gallup said.

      The poll shows President Lee Myung-bak's approval rating at 43.9 percent. Lee ends the third year of his five-year term on Friday. Regardless of support, when asked to name Lee's best accomplishment so far, 62.4 percent of respondents said he accomplished nothing or they cannot remember, while 8.4 percent cited the economic recovery, 6.3 percent North Korea policy, 4.5 percent the Four Rivers Project, and 4.1 percent foreign policy.

      The phone survey was conducted among 1,024 adults across the country on Monday.

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