The Korea Herald


Opposition bloc urges Saenuri to join impeachment bid

By 옥현주

Published : Nov. 27, 2016 - 20:06

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South Korea's opposition parties on Sunday urged the Saenuri Party to join ties for the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye on her influence-peddling scandal, adding the ruling party should respond to the weekly rally that allegedly gathered more than a million a day earlier.

On Saturday, organizers claimed a record 1.5 million people joined the fifth consecutive weekly rally held in central Seoul, demanding Park step down from her office amid allegations that her confidante Choi Soon-sil exerted influence on state affairs and enjoyed unlawful benefits.

With opposition parties set to put the impeachment motion up for a vote next month, they claimed Saenuri should also promptly join the move, especially as its successful passage calls for the approval of at least 200 lawmakers in the 300-seat National Assembly.

"The people expressed their right of resistance through the record-breaking rally," the main opposition Democratic Party said. "The president should respond to the strict order of the people."

"The parliament should focus efforts on passing the impeachment motion of Park," the splinter People's Party said, adding it is willing to join ties with anyone who seeks the ousting of Park.

The Democratic Party, People's Party and the minor Justice Party take up 121, 38 and six seats, respectively, which add up to 165. Assuming that all opposition members and seven independent lawmakers back the motion, its passage still needs support from at least 28 Saenuri lawmakers to meet the minimum requirement.

While at least 40 Saenuri lawmakers are estimated to have decided to join the impeachment, the ruling party still remain divided over its path, especially amid the discord among Park loyalists and other members.

"We are well aware of the meaning behind the candlelight rallies held by the people across the country," a Saenuri spokesman said, adding it will focus efforts on normalizing state affairs paralyzed by the scandal.

Meanwhile, eight former parliamentary speakers and a number of ex-lawmakers issued a statement after holding a meeting later on the day, calling for President Park to step down by no later than April next year.

Park Kwan-yong, who served as the chief of the National Assembly from 2002 to 2004, said the suggested deadline was set in April for political parties to prepare for an election which would come within 60 days of the president's resignation.

"The National Assembly should recommend a premier who will form a neutral Cabinet, as soon as possible, and the president should leave overall state affairs to the new prime minister," the statement said. (Yonhap)