South Korea’s Park stays low after suspected for graft

Seoul, Nov 21 (IANS) South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye has been staying low-key after prosecutors listed her as a suspect in a high-profile corruption case involving her confidante, a source said on Monday.

Park has said that she will not attend a Cabinet meeting this week, indicating to stay low-key following the case, Yonhap news agency quoted an official at the presidential office — Cheong Wa Dae — as saying.

Since last week, Park had been considering presiding over the weekly meeting of the Cabinet ministers.

She has decided not to attend the meeting as the prosecution on Sunday booked her as an “accomplice” in the criminal case surrounding her friend Choi Soon-sil and key former aides.

Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting will be presided over by Yoo Il-ho, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, who is also the Finance Minister, the source said.

Sunday’s announcement on the interim results of the prosecutorial probe in the case has further infuriated citizens, who have been calling for Park’s resignation through street rallies across the nation, and spurred political discussions for her impeachment.

During this week’s meeting, Cabinet ministers plan to endorse a motion to promulgate an act on an independent counsel probe into the corruption scandal involving Park’s friend Choi Soon-sil. After the endorsement process, the President plans to sign it into law.

The probe team, which consists of 105 staffers, including 20 prosecutors, has a mandate to investigate the scandal for up to four months.