S. Korean parties hold impeachment talks
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s three main opposition parties began talks Wednesday to determine when to try to impeach President Park Geunhye, dismissing as a stalling tactic her offer to resign if parliament arranges a safe transfer of power.
Park’s conditional resignation offer Tuesday came as she faces nosediving ap- proval ratings and massive street rallies calling for her ouster amid a huge political scandal involving her and a longtime shadowy confidante.
“The people of South Korea do not want to enter the New Year with Park Geun-hye as president,” Choo Mi-ae, leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, said at the start of the meeting.
“There is only one way under our constitution to halt a term of a president and that’s an impeachment motion.”
The three opposition parties have previously said they would try to impeach Park either this Friday or on Dec. 9, when a parliamentary plenary session is already scheduled.
Park said Tuesday that she would resign — if parliament arranges the technical details — in her latest attempt to fend off impeachment efforts and massive street protests amid prosecution claims that a corrupt confidante wielded government power from the shadows.
Park, in a live address to the nation, said she would “leave the matters about my fate, including the shortening of my presidential term, to be decided by the National Assembly,” referring to parliament.
Others said lawmakers could shorten Park’s term by securing a vote of twothirds of the 300-member parliament — the same number of ballots needed to get Park’s impeachment motion passed.
Park, in her speech, continued to deny accusations by prosecutors that she colluded in the criminal activities of longtime friend Choi Soon-sil, who, despite having no official role in government, allegedly had a say in policy decisions and exploited her presidential ties to bully companies into giving large sums of money to businesses and foundations under the control of Choi. South Korea’s Park Geunhye bows after addressing the country Tuesday.