South Korea’s opposition to begin President’s impeachment process

Seoul, Nov 21 (IANS) South Korea’s main opposition, the Democratic Party announced on Monday that it will initiate impeachment proceedings against President Park Geun-hye, if she does not step down after having been declared an accomplice in a corruption case.

“Park must step down. Under this stance, we will review her impeachment and the issue of forming an interim Cabinet at a proper time,” opposition leader Choo Mi-ae said in a meeting with party members.

Choo added that the party will immediately start the necessary formalities for the impeachment process in parliament although she warned it could take up to six months, according to a statement issued by the party.

The announcement comes a day after prosecutors said Park acted as an accomplice in a corruption and influence peddling case, that has sparked strong indignation in the country and intensified demands for her resignation.

The prosecutors on Sunday said that Park colluded with her close friend and confidant, Choi Soon-sil, and another two former aides to pressure over 50 companies to donate a total of $65.7 million to two foundations.

Until now, the main opposition parties, who have a majority in the parliament, had not raised the possibility of initiating an impeachment process believing it would be rejected by the Supreme Court at the last moment.

The so-called “Choi Soon-sil Gate”, which came to light a month ago, has caused Park’s popularity ratings to plummet to a record low and led the opposition and a large section of society to demand her resignation.

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Seoul on Saturday demanding that Park steps down.

The indignation largely stems from the widespread perception that the president’s friend, who has never held public office, secretly intervened in State matters and used her influence to illegally embezzle funds and secure academic privileges for her daughter.