Date
11 December 2016
South Korean President Park Geun-hye delivers a brief televised speech at the presidential residence in Seoul on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters
South Korean President Park Geun-hye delivers a brief televised speech at the presidential residence in Seoul on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters

S Korea’s Park asks parliament to find way for her to step down

South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday asked parliament to find a way for her to give up power and decide when she should step down amid an influence-peddling scandal.

But the main opposition Democratic Party rejected Park’s offer, calling it a ploy to escape impeachment, Reuters said, citing a report from Yonhap news agency.

Park, 64, had apologized twice previously but until now resisted mounting public calls to quit, even as lawmakers readied to mount impeachment proceedings.

“I will leave to parliament everything about my future including shortening of my term,” she said in a brief televised speech.

“I will step down from my position according to the law once a way is formed to pass on the administration in a stable manner that will also minimize political unrest and vacuum after ruling and opposition parties’ discussion.”

But Park Kwang-on, a Democratic Party lawmaker, said it looked like she was trying to delay proceedings.

“She is handing the ball to parliament, when she could simply step down,” he said.

“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.”

Shin Yul, a professor of political science at Myongji University, agreed.

“She doesn’t want the parliament to impeach her and she doesn’t think that the parliament can soon reach an agreement, so she is making things complicated and trying to shift some of her blame to the parliament,” he told Reuters.

Some lawmakers from Park’s own conservative Saenuri party had asked her to resign under an agreement that would allow her to leave office with some dignity.

On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of South Koreans rallied for the fifth weekend in a row, calling for Park’s resignation.

– Contact us at [email protected]

RA/CG

EJI Weekly Newsletter