SEOUL - South Korea has elected its first female president, as Park Geun-Hye, the daugther of the country's longtime autocratic ruler, defeated opposition candidate Moon Jae-in.

Park, 60, the conservative party candidate, claimed victory early Thursday, after collecting 51.5% of the votes against Moon's 47.9%.

The campaign largely revolved around domestic issues, including rising unemployment and welfare, as Park convinced voters that she could better manage South Korea's economic challenges. Skynews reminds us that the incoming President's father, Park Chung-Hee, was the central political figure in post-War South Korea, having led the country's emergenc from poverty, but ruling with an iron fist during 18 years of dictatorship until 1979. 

Heberger image                   Park Geun-Hye during her victory speech

During her campaign, Park Geun-Hye condemned her father’s autocratic policies and emphasized the current administration's inaction on the North Korean refugees situation. Skynews reported that Park's being single and childless weighed in her favor, as Koreans are fed up with corrupt politicians using public money and offices to favor their children and other relatives.

Turnout was notably high, with 75.8% of eligible voters casting ballots, according to the Korean Times.

The son of North Korean refugees and a former human rights lawyer, Moon conceded defeat as the streets of Seoul filled with a roaring crowd to acclaim their new president: “Park Geun-Hye has married our nation. Now she will go on her honeymoon to the Blue House to begin governing,” said Cha In-Hong, a 57-year-old office worker.