An exportable president

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Park Geun-hye has proven skilful in her diplomatic dealings, but inept internal policy choices have cut the government’s popular consensus to 29%.

On 25 February 2016, Park Geun-hye will enter her third year as president of the Korean Republic, having rounded the halfway mark of her five-year mandate. Thus far, the president has not had it all her own way, and her administration has had to face a number of issues, both internally and on the regional and global stage.

In domestic politics, the main debate of the past few years has revolved around the stability of South Korean democracy which, according to some, has been seriously undermined by Park’s rise to power. A series of scandals have raised grave doubts about Park and her Saenuri (New Frontier) Party’s ‘democratic credentials’. The most egregious incident was the alleged interference of the national intelligence agency in the 2012 presidential elections to aid in Park Geun-hye’s success. Another controversy concerned the Constitutional Court’s dissolution of the Tonghap-jinbodang (the Unified Progress Party). The party, which has just five parlimentary members, was dissolved on charges of “using violent means to overthrow the South Korean democratic system” with the intention of “ultimately establishing a North Korean-style system”. 

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