Park’s impeachment vote delayed
An impeachment vote against South Korea’s president will be postponed by at least a week, lawmakers said on Wednesday, after Park Geunhye announced she was willing to step down early.
Lawmakers from Park’s own party had backed moves to impeach her on Friday, but now want the issue discussed in Parliament before holding a vote, likely to be scheduled a week later.
Park said on Tuesday she would let Parliament decide her fate following accusations that Choi Soon-sil elicited more than $60 million in payments from some of the country’s top firms, including Samsung.
Park has been named as a suspect in the growing investigation, making her the first sit- million ting president to be subject to a criminal probe while in office.
“Once lawmakers come up with measures to transfer power in a way that minimizes any power vacuum and chaos in governance, I will step down,” she said in a live video address.
Critics said the statement was a calculated bid to delay impeachment, by splitting opinion on her fate among her own party and the three opposition parties.
The speech appeared to convince some from Park’s Saenuri party, creating a roadblock for the opposition which requires a two-thirds majority in the national assembly to pass an impeachment motion.
About 30 Saenuri lawmakers who had initially backed removing the president from office were wavering following her address, the Moonhwa Ilbo newspaper reported.
The opposition insists Park must step down immediately and unconditionally.
While she retains the presidency, Park cannot be charged with a criminal offense except insurrection or treason, but she could be charged once she steps down.
Massive weekly protests have been intensifying over the past month, with up to 1.5 million people braving freezing temperatures in Seoul on Saturday to demand Park’s resignation, according to organizers.
people protested in Seoul on Saturday demanding Park’s resignation.
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