S Korea president says she is willing to leave office early

S Korea president says she is willing to leave office early

SEOUL - Agence France-Presse
S Korea president says she is willing to leave office early

AFP photo

South Korea’s scandal-hit President Park Geun-Hye said Nov. 29 she was willing to resign early and would let parliament decide her fate as leader.

“I will leave the issue of my departure, including the [possible] reduction of my term in office, to a decision by the National Assembly,” she said in a speech carried live on television.

“Once lawmakers come up with measures to transfer power in a way that minimizes any power vacuum and chaos in governance, I will step down,” she said without giving further details. 

But opponents said the statement was a tactic to derail efforts in the opposition-controlled parliament to impeach Park over the scandal, which has already seen her secret confidante Choi Soon-Sil charged with fraud and abuse of power.

A number of lawmakers from the ruling party have backed a bid by the three main opposition parties to pass a motion as early as Dec. 2 to impeach Park.

If parliament does pass the motion, Park would immediately be suspended from official duties and her prime minister would take over as an interim head of government.

The Constitutional Court could take as long as six months to decide whether to approve the impeachment.
“The presidential statement lacked sincere repentance. What the people want is her immediate resignation,” the main opposition Democratic Party said in a statement.

“It is not for her to continue biding her time, sending the ball to parliament’s court. We’ll push through with impeaching her,” it added.

Park’s Saenuri Party welcomed her statement on Nov. 29, calling for the opposition parties to delay their impeachment bid.  

Massive weekly protests have been intensifying over the past month, with up to 1.5 million people braving freezing temperatures in Seoul Nov. 26 to demand Park’s resignation, according to organizers.