Park’s think tank begins thinking

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Park’s think tank begins thinking

A think tank run by Park Geun-hye, a strong Grand National Party presidential hopeful, officially began operation yesterday with experts expected to formulate policies ahead of the presidential race in December 2012.

Named the National Future Institute, the Seoul think tank will assist Park in 15 fields, including economy, politics and diplomacy.

The experts will meet in groups on different days and hold brainstorming sessions on her future policies, Park’s aides said, adding that she will personally attend sessions that she has interest in and engage in free discussion with the experts. The opening day’s session will be on land development, real estate and transportation, the aides added.

The think tank had gained attention well before its formal opening because it was seen as the starting point of Park’s presidential bid, even though the election is still two years away.

A former chairwoman of the GNP whose initial image was stronger as the daughter of former President Park Chung-hee, a general who seized power in a coup, she ran against President Lee Myung-bak for the party’s nomination in the last election.

Most early media polls showed Park’s support rating above 30 percent, while those of other hopefuls were in the single digits.

Park, however, will exert her energy into policy studies for the time being rather than public activities, her aides said.

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