SEOUL, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Park Geun-hye was sworn in Monday as South Korea's first female president, kicking off a five-year term in the top job.
Following is a profile of the 11th president of South Korea.
Park was born on Feb. 2, 1952 as the first child of Park Chung-hee, the third president of South Korea. A graduate in electronic engineering from Sogang University, Park has a good command of the Chinese language.
In 1963, nine-year-old Park moved into the presidential house Cheong Wa Dae with her father. She served as the "first lady" for five years after her mother was killed in an assassination attempt on her father in August 1974. Park was forced to stay away from politics when her father was assassinated in 1979.
Park returned to the political arena in 1997 when she joined the Grand National Party (GNP) and was elected an assemblywoman a year later. She was reelected four consecutive times and acted as deputy chief and chief of the GNP (later the Saenuri Party).
Park launched her presidential bid in 2007, but lost to outgoing President Lee Myung-bak in the ruling party primary.
As the GNP's poll ratings slid during Lee's term, Park reformed the party by changing its name to the Saenuri Party and led it to a widely unexpected victory in parliamentary elections in April last year.
Park was elected the ruling party's presidential candidate with a landslide victory at its national convention in August 2012. She won the presidential election in December 2012.
Having built an image of being steadfast and calm, Park is called the "ice queen." Pledges to break the rule of men in politics earned her another moniker as the "Mrs. Thatcher in South Korea."
Park, 61, is unmarried and has no children, a fact she promoted in a bid to win voters tired of nepotism and corruption scandals surrounding their first families.
"I have no parents, I don't have anybody. All I have is the country," she said in a campaign speech.