President Park Geun-hye said Friday she would accept parliamentary impeachment with a “heavy heart,” but snubbed the opposition parties’ request to resign immediately.
She called a Cabinet meeting at around 5 p.m., less than an hour after the National Assembly voted 234-52 in favor of her impeachment.
“I’m truly sorry that I have sparked such nationwide confusion, particularly when the country’s national security and economy are in trouble. ... From now on, I will calmly response to the Constitutional Court’s impeachment trial and the independent counsel’s investigation (into the Choi Soon-sil scandal) in accordance to the procedures outlined by the law,” she said.
All of Park’s authorities as a president were suspended at 7:03 p.m. Friday, upon the Constitutional Court accepting the Assembly’s motion to dismiss the president.
The court will now deliberate the case to determine where Park’s alleged actions constitute impeachable offenses, a process that can take up to 180 days.
“I hope that each minister -- with the prime minister and acting president (Hwang Kyo-ahn) playing the central role -- will do their best to minimize any government vacuum, including in the economic and security fields,” Park said at the Cabinet meeting.
Park is suspected of conspiring with Choi Soon-sil, her friend of 40 years, and her former aides on a series of wrongdoings, which include pressuring local conglomerates to donate funds to two nonprofit organizations controlled by Choi. Investigators suspect the money has actually been a bribe for Park and Choi’s inner circle.
The embattled president denies the allegations. She insists that everything she did was for the sake of the country and she had no knowledge of the alleged wrongdoings of Choi and her former aides.
By Yoon Min-sik (email@example.com