Park gets ul­ti­ma­tum to quit in April

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

SEOUL: South Korea’s rul­ing party yes­ter­day urged scan­dal-hit Pres­i­dent Park Geun-Hye to step down in April next year, giv­ing her a week to ac­cept their ul­ti­ma­tum or risk im­peach­ment.

Park this week said she would be will­ing to step down early after com­ing un­der huge pres­sure to quit over an in­flu­ence ped­dling scan­dal that has drawn more than a mil­lion peo­ple onto the streets in protest.

The rul­ing Saenuri Party’s 128 law­mak­ers unan­i­mously agreed to de­mand Park re­sign in late April and called for a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion to be held in June, six months ear­lier than sched­uled.

“All the law­mak­ers of the party unan­i­mously ap­proved this timetable”, par­lia­men­tary floor leader Chung Jin-Suk was quoted as say­ing by the Yonhap news agency after a cru­cial party meet­ing.

The party con­sid­ered the timetable the most ap­pro­pri­ate to en­sure a peace­ful trans­fer of power, main­tain sta­bil­ity and give po­lit­i­cal par­ties time to pre­pare for the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Chung said.

Park said on Tues­day she would let par­lia­ment de­cide her fate fol­low­ing ac­cu­sa­tions that she col­luded with Choi Soon-Sil – a se­cre­tive con­fi­dante dubbed “Korea’s Rasputin” – to co­erce firms to “do­nate” tens of mil­lions of dol­lars to foun­da­tions which were used for Choi’s per­sonal gain.

Park has been named as a sus­pect in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, mak­ing her the first sit­ting pres­i­dent to be sub­ject to a crim­i­nal probe while in of­fice.

And al­though Park’s an­nounce­ment re­duced the mo­men­tum of calls for her im­peach­ment, the main op­po­si­tion Demo­cratic Party in­sisted that Park should be stripped of of­fice by the end of Jan­uary.

“All South Kore­ans want Park to leave as soon as pos­si­ble. They don’t want her to stick around so long,” its leader, Choo Mi-Ae, said.

Law­mak­ers from Park’s own party had backed the op­po­si­tion-led move to im­peach her as early as to­day.

But one of them, for­mer Saenuri Party head Kim Moo-Sung, said they are now will­ing to give Park four months to leave of­fice.

“If the pres­i­dent agrees to step down on April 30, there is no need to push through with im­peach­ment,” Kim said.

The party would give Park un­til Thurs­day next week to ac­cept their de­mand. – AFP

Korean Con­fed­er­a­tion of Trade Unions mem­bers march with an ef­figy of Park dur­ing a gen­eral strike call­ing for her to step down in Seoul.

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