South Korean President agrees to step down if transition of governing power can be planned to minimize chaos

South Korean President agrees to step down if transition of governing power can be planned to minimize chaos

South Korean President, Park Geun-hye said that she will follow the National Assembly’s decision about her course of resignation as the President, including cutting short her remaining term.

The 64-yr-old South Korean President said in her speech from Cheong Wa Dae Presidential Residence today (29 Nov), “When the ruling and opposition parties propose a plan to transfer governing power in a way that can minimize any chaos and power vacuum in state affairs, I will resign from the presidency according to the rules and schedules proposed by the National Assembly.”

The main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) and two minor opposition parties, the People’s Party and the Justice Party, have been calling for Park’s resignation and impeachment over the corruption scandal surrounding her confidant Choi Soon-sil.

President Park had apologised twice previously but it has done little to change the views of her by opposition and the public.

She said, “Once again, I apologize for causing you enormous troubles because of my wrongdoings. As I see the citizens suffering heartache due to this issue, I think it is evident that I must apologize even hundreds of times.”

“But despite such efforts, all the disappointment and fury that I have caused you cannot be resolved and that wrenches my heart.”

Korea Times reported the South Korean President’s full speech.

Korea Times wrote that the main opposition Democratic Party on Tuesday rejected President Park Geun-hye’s offer to step down under a plan to be devised by National Assembly, calling it a ‘ploy to avoid impeachment.’ The opposition party said it would go ahead with its plan to impeach the President.

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

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

Shin Yul, a professor of political science at Myongji University, said, “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.”

Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans had assambled for the fifth weekend in a row, calling for Park’s resignation. Organisers told the crowd totalled 1.5 million, but police estimation said the crowd was 260,000.

Gallup Korea released a weekly survey on Friday that showed Park’s approval rating fell to just an all time-low 4 percent.

A senior official at the Civil Society Organizations Network in Korea stated that an early presidential election will be ‘a must’ whether or not the National Assembly succeeds in introducing a plan in line with Park’s offer.
“It does not matter whether Park’s proposal will be fulfilled or not. We need to choose our next leader as quickly as possible because the President has already lost control over state affairs,” the official told Korea Times on condition of anonymity,.

If Park is impeached or resigns, an election would be held in 60 days to nominate a president to serve a five-year term. It would be the first time a South Korean president failed to complete a term since the current democratic system was implemented in 1987.

Park’s friend and former aide Choi Soon-sil, has been indicted for allegedly interfering in various state affairs and extorting local conglomerates to accumulate her wealth. The prosecution has named President Park as an accomplice in an investigation whether big business was inappropriately pressured to contribute money to foundations set up to back Park’s initiatives.

The presidential office and Park’s lawyer have denied the accusations.

Park has only acknowledged carelessness in her ties with Choi, who Park has said had helped her through difficult times.

Their friendship dates to an era when Park served as acting first lady after her mother was killed by an assassin’s bullet intended for her father, then-president Park Chung-hee. Five years later, in 1979, Park’s father was murdered by his Korean CIA director, Kim Jae-kyu, on Oct. 26, 1979, at the then-KCIA annex in the Cheong Wa Dae compound.

Choi said in a newspaper interview that she read and revised Park’s speeches early in the presidential term on Thursday (27 October) from Germany, where she was staying. However, she denied all allegations which say that she interfered in state affairs.


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