S. Korean prosecutors summon Park, presidential poll on May 9

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Seoul, March 15 (IANS) South Korean prosecutors summoned ex-President Park Geun-hye to undergo questioning early next week, a prosecution official said on Wednesday, after she was removed from office over a string of corruption allegations.

“The prosecution team has sent a summons to former President Park Geun-hye’s legal representative, asking her to appear at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office on March 21 to be questioned,” an official said.

Park’s group of attorneys told reporters that the former President “will faithfully go through the interrogation at the time and date demanded by the prosecution”, reported Yonhap news agency.

The government announced that it will hold the presidential election on May 9 to find a replacement for the ousted leader.

Park, the country’s first democratically elected leader to be ousted, has been named a criminal suspect for allegedly abusing her power and colluding with her long time friend Choi Soon-sil in extorting money from local conglomerates.

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The former leader has so far effectively rejected undergoing a direct investigation, while a number of her former aides have been questioned over their alleged involvement in the scandal.

The Constitutional Court’s decision to oust her last week stripped Park of the immunity that had protected her from criminal prosecution.

Park will be the country’s fourth former President to undergo questioning over criminal allegations, following Roh Tae-woo, Chun Doo-hwan and the late Roh Moo-hyun.

Meanwhile, the Council of Ministers decided to declare May 9 as election day and a national holiday, Efe news reported.

During the cabinet meeting, acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn announced that he will not contest the elections, which leaves the ruling and conservative Liberty Korea Party, to which Park belonged, without a probable candidate at the moment.

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According to the latest opinion polls, liberal candidate Moon Jae-in is the favourite to win the presidential election.



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