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Saenuri Leader Park Geun-hye Leadership Key to Its Stunning Win Updated: 2012-04-12 12:00:00 KST

Saenuri Leader Park Geun-hye Leadership Key to Its Stunning Win
Saenuri Party leader Park Geun-hye on Thursday thanked the supporters who helped her party to victory.

[Interview : Park Geun-hye, Election Committee Leader
Saenuri Party ] "I thank you for supporting the Saenuri Party and showing us your trust. For the last four years, the party gave you a big disappointment many times. But I believe you gave us one last chance."

The conservative party's stunning victory, finishing the day with a whopping 152 seats in the assembly, was unthinkable as recently as two months ago when a series of corruption scandals dealt a major blow to the party image.
At that time, some even said winning 100 seats in this year's general election would be a stretch for the ailing party.
Pundits say Saenuri's comeback is largely attributable to the leadership of Park Geun-hye who took the helm of the Emergency Committee late last year and pushed for major reforms over the last four months.
One of her first moves: letting go of the party's previous name, the Grand National Party, and opting for the name "Saenuri", which in Korean means a new world or frontier.
Under Park's leadership, the new Saenuri Party chose to focus on issues perceived to be of immediate concern to the general public, such as welfare and the democratization of the economy, issues which were long regarded as the province of the progressive camps.
The party also undertook a major internal shakeup, bringing in new faces, including young talents, and nominating them to run in the general election.
The signs of change, analysts say, pushed the Saenuri candidates over the top.
With her leadership now in the spotlight, Saenuri Party leader Park Geun-hye seems to be off and running as a presidential hopeful ahead of the December presidential contest.
Meanwhile, Moon Jae-in of the main opposition Democratic United Party won a seat in the National Assembly as well, but his party's poor performance Wednesday is expected to work against him in the upcoming presidential race.
Now, the real dark horse in the presidential election seems to be software tycoon turned professor Ahn Cheol-soo who has tremendous support among Korean's young people.
Kim Yeon-ji, Arirang News.
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