Date
22 November 2017
Park Geun-hye is accused of bribery, abuse of power and violating her constitutional duties. Her fate hinges on a vote by parliament. Photo: Reuters
Park Geun-hye is accused of bribery, abuse of power and violating her constitutional duties. Her fate hinges on a vote by parliament. Photo: Reuters

South Korea set for final step to impeach Park

South Korea’s parliament was expected to introduce a motion on Thursday to impeach President Park Geun-hye over influence-peddling allegations.

It would be the last procedural step necessary before a climactic vote to decide her fate, according to Bloomberg.

The 40-page measure accusing Park of bribery, abuse of power and violating her constitutional duties would be brought before the National Assembly in time to allow a planned vote Friday, Youn Kwan-suk, a spokesman for the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea, said by phone.

National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun’s office said a vote was scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday.

The motion has been endorsed by 171 lawmakers, just 29 shy of the number of votes necessary to clear the 300-seat chamber. A faction of Park’s ruling Saenuri Party has pledged to join the opposition, which would give the measure just enough support to pass.

Saenuri’s floor leader, Chung Jin-suk, said after meeting with Park on Tuesday that she was “ready” to accept the result.

If 200 or more lawmakers vote in favor, Park would be suspended from power while the constitutional court takes as many as 180 days to review the move.

If the court agrees, a presidential election would be held in 60 days, with the prime minister serving as interim leader.

The impeachment motion follows weeks of growing political outrage in South Korea over allegations that Park’s longtime friend, Choi Soon-sil, used their relationship to secure tens of millions of dollars of donations from some of the country’s biggest corporations.

The case — and what it has revealed about relations between the country’s ruling elite — stirred popular anger over corruption and a lack of jobs.

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