Is South Korea ready for "Madam President"?
SEOUL (REUTERS) - If Park Geun Hye wins South Korea's presidential election this month, as looks increasingly likely, she will become the first woman to hold the country's top office, challenging stereotypes in a nation that is largely run by men in blue suits.
A conservative who has 15 years experience as a top legislator and who has been dubbed "The Queen of Elections" for turning around the fortunes of her political party in a series of polls, Park says she took to politics to help save her country from the devastating Asian financial crisis of 1997-98.
Ms Park, 60, is the daughter of South Korean dictator Park Chung-hee and has never married or had children, something her opponents have sought to highlight in a bid to cut back her lead in the polls ahead of the Dec 19 vote.
"Candidate Park has no femininity. She has never lived a life agonising over childbirth, childcare, education and grocery prices," Park Kwang On, a spokesman for her left-of-centre opponent, Moon Jae In, said recently.