President Park Impeachment Vote Scheduled for Friday December 9

President Park Impeachment Vote Scheduled for Friday December 9

SEOUL, Dec. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's three opposition parties agreed to propose the impeachment motion for President Park Geun-hye on Friday, adding the vote will take place on Dec. 9 even if the presidential office announces a plan outlining the chief executive's early resignation.

Park has been facing the biggest crisis of her political career because of the influence-peddling scandal centered on her friend Choi Soon-sil and some of her aides. Choi is suspected of exerting influence on state affairs and having profited from her close relationship with the chief executive.

The three parties plan to hand in the motion and agreed to persuade members of the ruling Saenuri Party to take part in the vote.

The president asked the National Assembly to decide on her fate in a public speech delivered earlier this week. After the address, Park loyalists have been suggesting to have Park leave office in April and hold the presidential election in June.

The successful passage of an impeachment motion calls for approval from 200 of the 300 lawmakers in the National Assembly. At least 28 Saenuri members must support the motion even if every opposition and independent lawmaker votes for impeachment.

A group of lawmakers in Saenuri that oppose Park said earlier in the day that they will wait for the president to announce her resignation plan by Wednesday, adding they will join the impeachment vote next week if she fails to do so.

The opposition parties, meanwhile, kicked off the procedure to collect lawmakers' signatures for the impeachment motion.

As widely expected, the motion cited the Sewol ferry disaster, adding that Park failed to protect the lives of the people as stipulated in the Constitution. The Sewol ferry, which sunk on April 16, 2014, was en route to the southern resort island of Jeju from Incheon, west of Seoul, with a total of 476 passengers. Most of the 304 dead were high school students on a field trip.

The motion also claimed that Park violated the spirit of democracy while turning her back against the people who gave the president rights through the election.

The opposition then said the president broke the country's supreme law by allowing her confidante Choi Soon-sil to exert influence on state affairs, while disrupting the market system by forcing conglomerates to donate funds for the Mir and K-Sports foundations, which could be considered a form of bribery. Investigators have claimed that Choi may have tried to siphon off money to enrich herself from these entities.

Currently, the motion is set to be proposed by 171 lawmakers, which accounts for everyone in the three opposition parties and independent members, excluding the parliamentary speaker and Saenuri members.

The parliamentary speaker's office said he did not join in on the proposal to maintain political neutrality, but added that he will vote on it. The proposal, meanwhile, may also be pushed back to Saturday, opposition parties said.'

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