South Korea Endgame: Op­tions for em­bat­tled Pres­i­dent Park

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

South Korean Pres­i­dent Park Ge­un­hye faces mount­ing calls for her to step down over a po­lit­i­cal scandal amid in­di­ca­tions that par­lia­ment, in­clud­ing mem­bers of her own rul­ing party, may try to im­peach her. Below are the op­tions fac­ing Park, whose term is due to end in Fe­bru­ary 2018.


If Park re­signs, an elec­tion would be held within 60 days with the win­ner serv­ing five years as Park’s suc­ces­sor, mak­ing for a high-stakes race for an un­ex­pect­edly early pres­i­den­tial vote. The in­cum­bent prime min­is­ter would take over un­til a new pres­i­dent is picked, according to the con­sti­tu­tion.


To ini­ti­ate an im­peach­ment, a mo­tion backed by a sim­ple ma­jor­ity of the 300mem­ber par­lia­ment is needed. A twothirds ma­jor­ity vote is need to ap­prove the mo­tion. If passed, the bill would then go to the Con­sti­tu­tional Court for re­view, where at least six of the nine judges have to ap­prove it. The pres­i­dent’s pow­ers would be sus­pended un­til the con­sti­tu­tional court rul­ing, which can take up to six months. If the im­peach­ment mo­tion is con­firmed by the court, a new elec­tion would be held within 60 days. If an im­peach­ment case is dis­missed, Park would be re­in­stated im­me­di­ately.

Re­lin­quish­ing all power

Park may agree with po­lit­i­cal par­ties to re­lin­quish all pow­ers in re­turn for re­main­ing in of­fice un­til the end of her term, while a new prime min­is­ter and cab­i­net ap­pointed by the par­lia­ment han­dle state af­fairs. There is no prece­dent to this sce­nario and po­lit­i­cal an­a­lysts be­lieve Park is un­likely to ac­cept this pro­posal.

Park ig­nores calls to quit

Park may de­clare she will con­tinue serv­ing as pres­i­dent, in­clud­ing rep­re­sent­ing the coun­try in sum­mit diplo­macy. This would likely reignite mas­sive protest ral­lies. The sit­ting pres­i­dent can­not be crim­i­nally in­dicted un­der the con­sti­tu­tion un­less for trea­son so she can­not be jailed for her role in the scandal while in of­fice. — Reuters

South Korean Pres­i­dent Park Geun-hye

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