South Ko­rean po­li­ti­cal are­na di­vi­ded over Pre­si­dent Park’s ad­dress on scan­dal

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

SE­OUL - Ri­val po­li­ti­cal par­ties in South Ko­rea showed dif­fe­rent re­ac­ti­ons to Pre­si­dent Park Geun-hye’s na­ti­o­nal ad­dress yes­ter­day, her se­cond sin­ce a scan­dal in­vol­ving her long­ti­me con­fi­dan­te and for­mer ai­des ca­me in­to fo­cus last month.

Park ad­dres­sed the na­ti­on over the po­li­ti­cal scan­dal that spar­ked calls for her re­sig­na­ti­on, saying she will ac­cept an in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on in­to herself, if ne­ces­sa­ry, by pro­se­cu­tors. She ma­de her pu­blic apo­lo­gy once again af­ter ack­now­led­ging last week that Choi Soon-sil, Park’s clo­se friend for about four de­ca­des, ga­ve per­so­nal ad­vi­ce on pre­si­den­ti­al spee­ches. In re­ac­ti­on, the main op­po­si­ti­on Min­joo Par­ty sug­ge­sted its push to for­ce the pre­si­dent to re­sign, while one of the two mi­nor op­po­si­ti­ons po­si­ti­ve­ly as­ses­sed Park’s ac­cep­tan­ce of a cri­mi­nal in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on though she ad­ded a pre­con­di­ti­on of “if ne­ces­sa­ry.” So­me of non-Pre­si­dent Park fac­ti­on within the ru­ling Sae­nu­ri Par­ty fo­re­cast that Park’s speech would not ap­pea­se pu­blic an­ger, but the par­ty le­a­der­ship stres­sed the im­por­tan­ce of the pre­si­dent’s pled­ge to coo­p­e­ra­te with pro­se­cu­tors. Min­joo Par­ty chair­wo­man Choo Mi-ae told a press con­fe­ren­ce that Pre­si­dent Park at­tri­bu­ted the col­lap­se of sta­te af­fairs to her in­ap­prop­ri­a­te re­la­ti­ons­hip with Choi in her per­so­nal his­to­ry, ur­ging the pre­si­dent to re­a­li­ze a fact that the col­lap­se was cau­sed by herself. Choo war­ned that her par­ty will mo­ve to for­ce the pre­si­dent to step down un­less Park ac­cepts three de­mands, in­clu­ding an ap­point­ment of an in­de­pen­dent pro­se­cu­tor un­der a se­pa­ra­te law, a par­li­a­men­ta­ry in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on in­to the scan­dal and a new no­mi­na­ti­on of pri­me mi­nis­ter pro­po­sed by an agree­ment in the Na­ti­o­nal As­sem­bly. Pre­si­dent Park tap­ped Kim By­ong­joon, for­mer po­li­cy ad­vi­sor to la­te Pre­si­dent Roh Moo-hyun in the op­po­si­ti­on bloc, as new pri­me mi­nis­ter Wed­nes­day, but op­po­si­ti­on par­ties ha­ve boy­cot­ted par­li­a­men­ta­ry hea­ring for ap­pro­val as the pre­si­dent na­med the no­mi­nee wit­hout any pri­or no­ti­ce or con­sulta­ti­on with the par­li­a­ment. Both ru­ling and op­po­si­ti­on par­ties ha­ve de­mand­ed a par­li­a­ment-pro­po­sed pri­me mi­nis­ter be pick­ed to let him choo­se ca­bi­net mem­bers and form a grand-co­a­li­ti­on govern­ment.

Sae­nu­ri Par­ty chair­man Lee Jung-hyun, one of key proPre­si­dent Park fac­ti­on mem­bers, told re­por­ters that the pre­si­dent de­cla­red eve­ry­bo­dy is equal be­fo­re the law by vo­wing to ac­ti­ve­ly coo­p­e­ra­te with pro­se­cu­tors on her own wrong­do­ings. Ho­we­ver, one of non-Park fac­ti­on law­ma­ker of the governing par­ty said pu­blic fu­ror would not be ea­sed as the pre­si­dent has yet to tell all of the truth be­hind the scan­dal. Ano­ther non-Park fac­ti­on le­gis­la­tor said Park should ha­ve ex­pres­sed her wil­ling­ness to loo­sen her grip on po­wer. Sim Sang-jung, chair­wo­man of the left-wing mi­nor Jus­ti­ce Par­ty, told re­por­ters that pe­o­p­le will ne­ver ac­cept the pre­si­dent’s ad­dress in the ab­sen­ce of ex­pla­na­ti­ons on the truth, cal­ling on Park to vo­lun­ta­ri­ly re­sign.


Pe­o­p­le watch TV broad­cas­ting South Ko­rean Pre­si­dent Park Geun-hye ad­dres­sing the na­ti­on, at a train sta­ti­on in Se­oul, South Ko­rea. (Pho­to: Xin­hua)

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