South Korea's opposition parties move
toward President Park impeachment
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[November 21, 2016]
SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's
opposition People's Party will start collecting signatures for an
impeachment motion against President Park Geun-hye, while the main
opposition Democratic Party will review the conditions for impeachment,
party spokesmen said on Monday.
South Korean prosecutors said on Sunday they believe Park was an
accomplice in an influence-peddling scandal that has rocked her
Park's close friend Choi Soon-sil and former presidential aide An
Chong-bum have been charged with abuse of power by pressuring companies
to contribute funds to foundations at the center of the scandal.
Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Seoul on Saturday
in the fourth straight weekend of protests against Park, in the biggest
public demonstrations the country has seen since the 1980s.
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
The People's Party, with 38 seats in the single-chamber 300-member
parliament, has started efforts to remove Park from office and will talk
with other parties to get signatures for an impeachment motion, said a
party spokesman Lee Yong-ho.
An impeachment motion requires at least half of the parliament to start
and needs a two-thirds majority to pass.
If an impeachment motion passes parliament, it is reviewed by the
Constitutional Court, which has to confirm it with at least six of its
nine judges. Political analysts say an impeachment motion against Park
has a good chance of passing.
The Democratic Party, which has 121 seats, said on Monday it would start
reviewing the conditions for impeachment proceedings but did not commit
to starting the motion.
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Protesters shout slogans after they are blocked by riot policemen in
a road nearby the presidential Blue House during their march calling
South Korean President Park Geun-hye to step down in Seoul, South
Korea, November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
"Impeachment proceedings need perfect preparations as much is
possible," Choo Mi-ae, head of the Democratic Party told a party
meeting, adding the best scenario was for Park to step down.
Political analysts have said opposition parties are not pushing hard
for impeachment because if the motion fails, it will improve Park's
chances of surviving the crisis.
In 2004, parliament voted to impeach then-President Roh Moo-hyun,
only to have the motion overturned by the Constitutional Court. The
move was unpopular with the public, which saw it as an abuse of
power by the opposition, which had a majority then.
(Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Jack Kim and Michael Perry)
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