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South Korea elects its first female president

Kim Hee-chul / EPA

Park Geun-hye waves to supporters in Yeouido, Seoul after she was declared the winner in South Korea's presidential election on Dec. 19, 2012.

The Associated Press reports — Ruling-party candidate Park Geun-hye was elected South Korean president Wednesday, becoming the country's first female leader despite the incumbent's unpopularity and her own past as the daughter of a divisive dictator. The victory sets up the possibility of greater engagement with rival North Korea, despite a controversial rocket launch by Pyongyang last week.

After liberal candidate Moon Jae-in (Moon Jay-in) conceded victory in a close race, Park said she will become "a president of promise."

Huge crowds lined up throughout the day, braving frigid weather to choose between Park and Moon, the son of North Korean refugees. Read the full story.

Ha Kyung-min / Newsis via Reuters

Catholic nuns stand in a line to cast their ballots in the presidential election at a polling station in Busan, South Korea, on Dec. 19, 2012.

Saenuri Party via Reuters

Park Geun-hye, center, poses with her father (and then-President) Park Chung-hee and her mother Yuk Young-soo along with her younger brother and sister in Seoul in an undated photo handed out by the Saenuri Party on Dec. 19, 2012.

Jung Yeon-je / AFP - Getty Images

Presidential candidate Park Geun-hye, wearing a reindeer antler headband given to her by a campaigner, smiles at a campaign rally in Seoul on Dec. 18, 2012.

Lee Jae-won / Reuters

Yoo Bok-yeob, center, a 72-year-old village schoolmaster, casts his ballot with family members at a polling station in Nonsan on Dec. 19, 2012.


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