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South Korea presidential rivals in final push for votes

Published on Dec 18, 2012 1:41 PM
In this combination photo, Ms Park Geun Hye (left), presidential candidate of conservative and right wing ruling Saenuri Party, attends a campaign in Gunpo, south of Seoul and Mr Moon Jae-in, former human rights lawyer and presidential candidate of the main opposition Democratic United Party, attends his election campaign in Incheon, west of Seoul on Dec 17, 2012. The country's presidential election will be held on Dec 19. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL (AFP) - The two rivals for South Korea's presidency made a final pitch to voters on Tuesday - the eve of an election that looks set to go down to the wire and could produce the country's first female leader.

The eventual winner of Wednesday's ballot will face numerous foreign and domestic challenges, including a pugnacious North Korea, a slowing economy and soaring welfare costs in one of the world's most rapidly-ageing societies.

Ruling conservative party candidate Park Geun Hye is looking to make history as the first female president of a still male-dominated nation, and the first to be related to a former leader.

Ms Park, 60, is the daughter of one of modern Korea's most polarising figures, the late dictator Park Chung Hee who is both admired for dragging the country out of poverty and reviled for his ruthless suppression of dissent during 18 years of autocratic rule.

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