Park’s im­peach­ment vote de­layed

The Myanmar Times - - World -

THE im­peach­ment vote against South Korea’s scan­dal-hit pres­i­dent will be post­poned by at least a week, law­mak­ers said yes­ter­day, af­ter Park Geun-hye an­nounced she was will­ing to stand down early.

Law­mak­ers from Ms Park’s own party had backed moves to im­peach her to­mor­row, but now want the is­sue dis­cussed be­fore hold­ing a vote, likely to be sched­uled a week later.

Ms Park had said on Novem­ber 29 she would let par­lia­ment de­cide her fate fol­low­ing ac­cu­sa­tions that her con­fi­dante Choi Soon-sil elicited more than US$60 mil­lion in pay­ments from some of the coun­try’s top firms, in­clud­ing Sam­sung.

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

“Once law­mak­ers come up with mea­sures to trans­fer power in a way that min­imises any power vac­uum and chaos in gov­er­nance, I will step down,” she had said on Novem­ber 29.

Crit­ics said the state­ment was a cal­cu­lated bid to de­lay im­peach­ment, by split­ting opin­ion on her fate among her own party and the three op­po­si­tion par­ties.

The speech ap­peared to con­vince some from Ms Park’s Saenuri party, cre­at­ing a road­block for the op­po­si­tion which re­quires a two-thirds ma­jor­ity in the na­tional assem­bly to pass an im­peach­ment mo­tion.

About 30 Saenuri law­mak­ers who had ini­tially backed re­mov­ing the pres­i­dent from of­fice were wa­ver­ing fol­low­ing her ad­dress.

The op­po­si­tion in­sists Ms Park must step down im­me­di­ately and un­con­di­tion­ally, while loy­al­ists call for an “or­derly de­par­ture”.

While she re­tains the pres­i­dency, Ms Park can­not be charged with a crim­i­nal of­fence ex­cept in­sur­rec­tion or trea­son, but she could be charged once she steps down.

Mas­sive weekly protests have been in­ten­si­fy­ing over the past month, with up to 1.5 mil­lion peo­ple on Novem­ber 26 de­mand­ing Ms Park’s res­ig­na­tion.

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