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South Korea opposition parties want president’s impeachment

21 November 2016 16:31

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South Korean opposition parties are seeking the impeachment of President Park Guen-hye, who is embroiled in a snowballing corruption scandal.

The main opposition Democratic Party said Monday that it will look into the conditions for the impeachment, adding that such proceedings need “perfect preparations.”

“We will immediately review the timing and methods of impeachment and set up a subcommittee to review a push for impeachment,” said Choo Mi-Ae, head of the liberal party which holds 121 parliamentary seats.

Two smaller opposition parties as well as lawmakers in Park’s conservative Saenuri (New Frontier) Party have also vowed to support her impeachment.

The three opposition parties hold a combined 55 percent of seats in the single-chamber 300-member parliament — short of the two thirds majority required to pass an impeachment bill.

This comes a day after South Korean prosecutors accused Park of complicity in an influence-peddling scandal.

Park’s close friend Choi Soon-sil and former presidential aide An Chong-bum have been charged with abuse of power by coercing companies to contribute funds to foundations at the center of the scandal.

A lawyer for President Park said later on Sunday that the accusation that she had a central role in the scandal was “imagination.”


A protester holds a placard showing a portrait of South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye during an anti-government rally in central Seoul on November 19, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Lawyer Yoo Yeong-ha also said in a statement that Park will not make herself available for questioning by prosecutors, a promise she had formerly made in an attempt to assuage public anger.

The corruption scandal has sparked mass rallies in the capital, Seoul, and elsewhere in the country, with protesters demanding the president’s resignation over the scandal.

Park, who’s five-year term ends in February 2018, has resisted calls to resign, but has apologized twice, saying she only sought to benefit the economy not herself, but acknowledges carelessness in her ties with Choi.

Observers say Park is likely to do all she can to serve out her time because a sitting president cannot be charged with a criminal offence except insurrection or treason.

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