Big changes with Park, the first single, female president

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jan 4, 2013 - 20:33
  • Updated : Jan 4, 2013 - 20:33
Park Geun-hye (center) shakes hands with a military cadet as she stands in for late first lady Yook Young-soo. (Yonhap News)
Cheong Wa Dae faces some major changes as Park Geun-hye is slated to take office Feb. 25 as the country’s first female president.

The division handling affairs concerning the presidential family may be scaled down or closed temporarily as the incoming leader is unmarried and has a younger brother and sister who live separately.

Park’s family background will affect the “second secretarial office” currently in charge of aiding the first lady. Former President Park Chung-hee, her father, set up the office in 1972.

Other major changes are expected in the composition of her security staff and protocol matters.

Observers speculate that more female security staff will enter the presidential office to guard her at close range.

On protocol matters, Foreign Ministry officials are trying to figure out the best way to support the woman president in official domestic and overseas events.

Some say that the wife of either the prime minister or foreign minister could serve as counterpart to the spouses of foreign heads of state.

Following the 1974 shooting death of her mother Yook Young-soo, Park was an acting first lady for some five years, accompanying her father to a series of national affairs.

The world’s female leaders include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Argentinean President Cristina Fernandez, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

For official events, they are said to be accompanied by the wives of premiers or other high-level government leaders.

By Song Sang-ho (