Park, 60 is the daughter of Park Chung-hee, whose memory still divides the country 33 years after his death. Credited with promoting rapid industrialisation, he also carried out ruthless crackdowns against opponents, some of whom were tortured or executed.

During her campaign, Park Geun-hye battled against resentment towards her privileged background and accusations that her Saenuri party was too close to powerful business conglomerates. Her gender, however, is not thought to have been a major influence on voters.

The country’s election commission put turnout at 75.8%, the highest in 15 years despite below-freezing conditions.

Park has said she will seek greater engagement with North Korea, and demanded that the regime abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

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