South Korean Political Parties Can't Agree on President Park's Future
SEOUL, Nov. 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korean parties continued to bicker over whether President Park Geun-hye should retain her control of foreign affairs and national security after she retreats from state affairs in the wake of a scandal involving her civilian confidante.
While rival parties agree that a new prime minister should be granted with more power, they have been at odds on how much mandate she should hand over.
"It is a matter of course that Park drop control over the military," Rep. Choo Mi-ae, head of the main opposition Democratic Party, said.'
Park has been low-key since the outbreak of the scandal in which she allegedly let an old friend exert influence on state affairs.
Choo added Park must also step aside from diplomatic affairs, which is one of most important presidential duties in small countries, like South Korea, surrounded by bigger powers.
"The president who people are ashamed of should promptly stay away from state affairs," Choo said, adding the a new prime minister should exert more power than simply implementing presidential orders as stated by the Constitution.
The ruling Saenuri Party called the opposition party's proposal unconstitutional, arguing that the president should retain control over the military.
"Even though the country is facing problems, we should not violate the Constitution," Rep. Chung Jin-suk, the floor leader of Saenuri, said. "All political disputes must be settled within the boundaries of the Constitution."
Chung's remark targeted Moon Jae-in, a former head of the Democratic Party who is likely to run for presidency next year. Moon lost against Park in the previous race.
"I cannot understand why lawyer-turned-politician (Moon) is making such unconstitutional claims," Chung added.
Later in the day, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn told lawmakers that President Park Geun-hye cannot give up all powers, as is in accordance with the Constitution.
"Park meant to have the new prime minister fully exercise powers as stipulated in the law, as previous prime ministers could not fully exert such rights in reality," Hwang said during a parliamentary session, indicating Park cannot give up control over the military.
"I believe decisions must be made based on the Constitution," Hwang said.