Park ‘ will­ing to re­sign’

> Op­po­si­tion ac­cuses pres­i­dent of ploy to es­cape im­peach­ment

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

SEOUL: South Korean Pres­i­dent Park Geun-hye yes­ter­day asked par­lia­ment to find a way for her to give up power and de­cide when she should step down amid an in­flu­ence-ped­dling scan­dal, but the op­po­si­tion said she was just try­ing to avoid im­peach­ment.

Park, 64, had apol­o­gised twice pre­vi­ously but un­til now re­sisted mount­ing pub­lic calls to quit, even as law­mak­ers read­ied to mount im­peach­ment pro­ceed­ings.

“I will leave it to par­lia­ment ev­ery­thing about my fu­ture in­clud­ing short­en­ing of my term,” she said in a tele­vised speech.

“I will step down from my po­si­tion ac­cord­ing to the law once a way is formed to pass on the ad­min­is­tra­tion in a sta­ble man­ner that will also min­imise po­lit­i­cal un­rest and vac­uum af­ter rul­ing and op­po­si­tion par­ties’ dis­cus­sion.”

The main op­po­si­tion Demo­cratic Party re­jected Park’s of­fer, call­ing it a ploy to es­cape be­ing im­peached, Yonhap news agency said.

Park Kwang-on, a Demo­cratic Party law­maker, said it looked like she was try­ing to de­lay pro­ceed­ings.

“She is hand­ing the ball to par­lia­ment, when she could sim­ply step down.

“She is ask­ing the par­lia­ment to pick a date for her to re­sign, which she knows would lead to a dis­cus­sion on when to hold the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and de­lay ev­ery­thing,” he said.

Shin Yul, a pro­fes­sor of po­lit­i­cal sci­ence at My­ongji Univer­sity, agreed.

“She doesn’t want the par­lia­ment to im­peach her and she doesn’t think that the par­lia­ment can soon reach an agree­ment, so she is mak­ing things com­pli­cated and try­ing to shift some of her blame to the par­lia­ment,” he said.

Some law­mak­ers from Park’s own con­ser­va­tive Saenuri party had asked her to re­sign un­der an agree­ment that would al­low her to leave of­fice with some dig­nity.

On Satur­day, hun­dreds of thou­sands of South Kore­ans ral­lied for the fifth week­end in a row, call­ing for Park’s res­ig­na­tion.

No South Korean pres­i­dent has failed to com­plete a term since the cur­rent demo­cratic sys­tem was im­ple­mented in 1987. If Park is im­peached or re­signs, an elec­tion would be held in 60 days to nom­i­nate a new pres­i­dent.

Park’s ap­proval rat­ing fell to just 4% in a weekly sur­vey re­leased Fri­day by Gallup Korea, an all time-low for a demo­crat­i­cally elected South Korean pres­i­dent.

Park’s friend, Choi Soon-sil, and a for­mer aide have been in­dicted in the case.

Pros­e­cu­tors named Park as an ac­com­plice in an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into whether big busi­ness was pres­sured to con­trib­ute money to foun­da­tions set up to back the pres­i­dent’s ini­tia­tives. – Reuters

Park bows dur­ing an ad­dress to the na­tion from the pres­i­den­tial Blue House in Seoul.

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