While her father, a general who seized power in a 1961 military coup, is revered by many South Koreans, particularly older folk, as a hero, he is also despised for flagrant abuses during his authoritarian rule. So outsize was his power and influence that his legacy remains the prism through which contemporary politics is viewed. Park Geun-hye's political pedigree, thus, is as much curse as blessing — it benefits yet also tarnishes her. To be a figure of unity she will have to overcome her history. "I know that the moniker of a 'President's daughter' will always be with me," she tells TIME. "[But] I know more than anyone the divergent views about my father. I want to be judged on my own merits."