The Return of Korea's Old Guard

As reform sputters, conservative icon Lee Myung Bak is ready to make a comeback in South Korea's Dec. 19 presidential election
Lee Myung Bak appears to be South Korea's President-in-waiting.

At a final-day campaign rally in Seoul before the Dec. 19 Korean presidential election, conservative front-runner Lee Myung Bak seems to be readying his victory speech. Campaign cheerleaders dressed in blue jumpers and sweaters with the number 747 in yellow pump up the crowd with chants and dances. The 747 number has become a symbol for Lee's campaign, representing his pledge to deliver 7% economic growth per year, to achieve annual per capita income of $40,000, and to make Korea the seventh-largest economy in the world. (Currently, growth is about 5%, per capita income is $20,000, and Korea is the world's 13th-largest economy.)

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