S. Korean opposition to press on with Park’s impeachment

Seoul, Nov 30 (IANS) South Korea’s opposition on Wednesday said it will continue with the impeachment proceedings against President Park Geun-hye even though she has agreed to step down because of her involvement in a scandal.

Park on Tuesday said in a televised address to the nation that she was ready to resign before the end of her term due to her involvement in the “Korean Rasputin” scandal, Efe news reported.

The leaders of the country’s three main opposition parties — the Democratic Party, the People’s Party and the Justice Party — said they will not negotiate the proposal put forward by Park.

The President, who has lost the support of the people and all political parties, including her own Saenuri Party, left the decision of her resignation to Parliament.

She urged Parliament to establish a legal timetable and procedures to enforce her resignation and ensure a stable transfer of power.

The opposition called Park’s proposal a political movement seeking to commit illegalities and unconstitutional acts in the National Assembly and accused her to trying to evade impeachment.

The opposition said Park was trying to buy time to push for a change in the Constitution, which will reduce the presidential term from the present five years to four and allow her to make a more dignified exit.

The opposition leaders said the South Korean people did not want to usher in the New Year with Park still at the helm and that the President had lost her credibility by allegedly participating in the illegal actions of her friend Choi Soon-sil.

The Prosecutors’ Office considers Park an accomplice of Choi, who was allegedly involved in affairs of the state, though not holding any public office, and extorting substantial sums of money from companies she partially appropriated.

The opposition hold 165 of the 300 seats in Parliament, which means it would need the backing of the lawmakers of the ruling Saenuri Party to achieve the two-thirds vote required for impeachment.

The impeachment is expected to go ahead despite the fact that most Saenuri lawmakers have declared their support for Park.

The impeachment process will then have to be greenlighted by the Supreme Court.

According to protest organisers, around two million people took to the streets for the fifth consecutive day on Wednesday to demand the resignation of Park, whose popularity ratings have dropped to a record low of four per cent.

–IANS

py/vt

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