Park willing to give up some power
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