Study finds Park has an edge in leadership ability

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Study finds Park has an edge in leadership ability


Park Geun-hye’s political leadership was ranked the highest among prominent politicians backed by considerable approval ratings in recent years, an evaluation by 100 experts from various fields showed.

It was the second survey in as many days that rated Park favorably.

And another nationwide poll said more people believe Park will win the presidency in 2012 than any other candidate.

In the poll of 100 political, media, history, management, public administration and polling experts, the JoongAng Ilbo and the JoongAng Sunday created a list called the JoongAng Political Leadership Index. It measures eight key qualities of presidential leadership.

Leadership of 11 politicians who had recorded an approval rating of at least 3 percent in opinion polls over the past five years was evaluated through the index from Jan. 20 to 31.

The experts evaluated the politicians on the eight qualities ranging from the will to lead the nation and organizing ability to ethics and ability to unite the country. A total of 80 points could be earned, with a maximum of 10 points for each category.

Park, former Grand National Party chairwoman, was ranked at the top, receiving a 67.91 points. Sohn Hak-kyu, former Gyeonggi mayor with a Grand National Party affiliation who defected to the Democratic Party in 2007 and headed the DP in 2008, came in second place with 61.61 points.

Chung Dong-young, former DP chairman and the party’s presidential candidate defeated by President Lee Myung-bak, was ranked third with 51.2 points, while Gyeonggi Governor Kim Moon-soo, who is a GNP member, ranked fourth with 50.43 points.

Rhyu Si-min, former welfare minister who used to be a key confidant of the late former President Roh Moo-hyun, was ranked fifth with 49.42 points, and Lee Hoi-chang, head of the Liberty Forward Party, followed with 49.34 points. Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon and GNP Chairman Chung Mong-joon had 49.32 and 48.40 points, respectively. Of the 11, incumbent Prime Minister Chun Un-chan was ranked at the bottom with 39.77 points.

According to the index, Park was rated highly for her will to lead and her organizing ability. She was, however, rated weakly for ability to unite the nation and her political reform power.

Sohn was also highly evaluated for his will to lead, but the experts believe that his ability to organize backers was weak. Chung Dong-young’s will to lead power was highly rated, but his ability to unite the nation received a low ranking.

A similar poll of 1,007 Korean adults was also conducted from Jan. 14 to 15 on the 11 politicians. Asked to name the top two politicians for a survey which contained 10 qualities, Park was ranked the top in nine qualities except for political financing. Chung Mong-joon was ranked the top for his own wealth and ability to raise funds.

The poll also showed a connection between the public’s support for past presidents and current politicians. According to the poll, 53.5 percent evaluated former President Park Chung Hee, father of Park Geun-hye, the most positively. Former presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun were named by 24.4 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

Asked about who will likely be the next president among the 11 politicians, Park Geun-hye was named by 45.6 percent, while 7.5 percent said it will be Chung Mong-joon. Lee Hoi-chang was named by 3.9 percent while Rhyu was named by 3.5 percent.

An analysis of the poll showed that those who highly rated former President Park backed his daughter. Such a link also existed between former President Roh and Rhyu.

The backers of former President Kim Dae-jung were split between Chung Dong-young and Sohn.

Chung Mong-joon, Lee Hoi-chang and Seoul Mayor Oh had weak links with former presidents.

“The corresponding relations must not be interpreted as nostalgia for past leaders,” said Jung Yong-duck, a public administration professor at Seoul National University. “The people want a future leader with balanced leadership. They want a leader who is capable of overcoming the perennial dichotomy of dividing ideologies, regions, social spectrum and the nation.”

Jung said the politicians who are associated with past presidents must try to make the best of the former presidents’ strengths while overcoming any weaknesses. “Only then will they be elected as the next leader and also be capable of success once in office,” Jung said.


By Shin Chang-un, Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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