SEOUL — Park Geun-hye, the daughter of an assassinated dictator, launched her campaign Tuesday to become South Korea’s first female president with polls placing her as frontrunner in December’s election.
The veteran politician, who is expected to secure the ruling conservative New Frontier Party’s nomination at its primary next month, softened her message in a speech apparently intended to broaden her appeal.
Pledging to work for a fair and transparent market economy, Park, 60, vowed to expand welfare and push for “economic democratization” amid a widening wealth gap and high youth unemployment in Asia’s fourth largest economy.
“Our economy has excessively emphasized efficiency and disregarded the importance of fairness, resulting in an increased income gap and imbalances,” she told cheering supporters at a shopping plaza in western Seoul.
“I will... create a government that boldly and resolutely enforces laws to make influential companies fulfill their social responsibilities,” she said. “I will devote my everything to make the Republic of Korea (South Korea) a country in which everybody can achieve their dreams,” she said.
About 1,000 supporters – mostly middle-aged or older and clad in the party’s trademark red – chanted her name and waved national flags, balloons and banners reading “The nation loves you”. — AFP