Park will­ing to give up some power

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

SEOUL: South Korean Pres­i­dent Park Geun-Hye yes­ter­day agreed to cede some con­trol of state af­fairs as the re­sult of a dam­ag­ing cor­rup­tion scan­dal that has en­gulfed her ad­min­is­tra­tion.

In what amounted to a ma­jor po­lit­i­cal con­ces­sion, Park told the speaker of the Na­tional Assem­bly that she would ac­cept a prime min­is­ter cho­sen by the op­po­si­tion-con­trolled leg­is­la­ture “and let him con­trol the cabi­net”.

The prime min­is­ter is nor­mally a largely sym­bolic post in South Korea, where power is firmly con­cen­trated in the ex­ec­u­tive.

It was a dou­ble sur­ren­der by Park – ef­fec­tively jet­ti­son­ing her own nom­i­nee for prime min­is­ter and re­lin­quish­ing some of her ex­ten­sive pow­ers to who­ever par­lia­ment chooses.

Her agree­ment un­der­lined just how weak­ened she has been by the scan­dal in­volv­ing a close per­sonal friend, Choi SoonSil, who has been ar­rested for fraud and abuse of power.

Choi is al­leged to have lever­aged her per­sonal re­la­tion­ship with Park to co­erce dona­tions from large com­pa­nies like Sam­sung to non-profit foun­da­tions she set up and used for per­sonal gain.

She is also ac­cused of in­ter­fer­ing with state af­fairs, in­clud­ing the nom­i­na­tion of se­nior of­fi­cials.

Lurid re­ports of the un­healthy in­flu­ence Choi wielded over Park have sent the pres­i­dent’s ap­proval rat­ings plung­ing to record lows and trig­gered protests call­ing on her to re­sign.

Dur­ing their meet­ing, par­lia­ment speaker Chung Sye-Kyun told Park that her big­gest pri­or­ity should be to al­le­vi­ate wide­spread pub­lic con­cern and anx­i­ety. – AFP

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