South Ko­rea’s pre­si­dent calls on par­li­a­ment to ar­ran­ge her exit

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

SOUTH-KO­REA - The dis­gra­ced South Ko­rean pre­si­dent, Park Geun-hye, has of­fe­red to re­sign and cal­l­ed on par­li­a­ment to ar­ran­ge her exit amid a cor­rup­ti­on and cron­y­ism scan­dal that has all but de­st­roy­ed her ad­mi­ni­stra­ti­on. Spea­king in a na­ti­o­nal­ly te­le­vi­sed ad­dress on Tues­day, Park – who­se sin­gle fi­ve-year term will not be of­fi­ci­al­ly over un­til ear­ly 2018 – as­ked the na­ti­o­nal as­sem­bly to set a new dead­line for the end of her tur­bu­lent pre­si­d­en­cy. “I will lea­ve to par­li­a­ment eve­ry­thing about my fu­tu­re in­clu­ding shor­te­ning of my term,” Park said in her third pu­blic ad­dress sin­ce the scan­dal bro­ke. “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 said. The of­fer by Park, South Ko­rea’s first fe­ma­le pre­si­dent, ca­me af­ter ano­ther week­end of hu­ge pro­tests in Se­oul and other ci­ties calling for her im­me­di­a­te re­sig­na­ti­on over her role in an in­flu­en­ce-peddling scan­dal cen­tred on her long­ti­me friend Choi Soon-sil. Op­po­si­ti­on law­ma­kers im­me­di­a­te­ly re­jec­ted the of­fer, de­scri­bing it as a last-ditch at­tempt to avoid the hu­mi­li­a­ti­on of im­pe­ach­ment. South Ko­rea’s three big­gest op­po­si­ti­on par­ties clai­med they had won the sup­port of en­ough law­ma­kers from Park’s ru­ling Sae­nu­ri par­ty to push ahead with im­pe­ach­ment. Just be­fo­re Park’s ad­dress lo­cal me­dia yes­ter­day re­por­ted that an im­pe­ach­ment vo­te could co­me as ear­ly as Fri­day. Park Kwang-on, a law­ma­ker with the main op­po­si­ti­on De­mo­cra­tic par­ty, said: “(Park) 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.” Park has twi­ce pu­bli­cly apo­lo­gi­zed over her clo­se ties to Choi, a long­ti­me con­fi­dan­te who has been ar­re­sted for fraud and abu­se of po­wer. Choi, 60, al­le­gedly used her re­la­ti­ons­hip with Park to coer­ce do­na­ti­ons from ma­jor South Ko­rean com­pa­nies, in­clu­ding Sams­ung – the coun­try’s lar­gest fa­mi­ly-run con­glo­me­ra­te – to non­pro­fit foun­da­ti­ons she set up and used for per­so­nal gain. In an at­tempt to quell cri­ti­cism of her con­duct in the pre­si­den­ti­al Blue Hou­se, Park, who has re­sisted calls for her re­sig­na­ti­on and de­nied any cri­mi­nal ac­ti­vi­ty, had pro­mi­sed to sub­mit herself to a spe­ci­al in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on. This week, howe­ver, her la­wy­ers re­jec­ted re­quests for Park to sub­mit herself to ques­ti­o­ning by the Choi pro­se­cu­tors. Instead the 64-year-old Park will pre­pa­re for an in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on by a spe­ci­al pro­se­cu­tor that is ex­pec­ted to be­gin in De­cem­ber, ac­cor­ding to her legal team.


South Ko­rean Pre­si­dent Park Geun-hye bows af­ter ad­dres­sing the na­ti­on over a po­li­ti­cal scan­dal in­vol­ving her and her long­ti­me friend Choi Soon-sil.(Pho­to: EPA)

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