President Park's Enemies in Saenuri Party Want Resignation Plan by Wednesday
SEOUL, Dec. 2 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye is seeking to hold talks with ruling party lawmakers from as early as this weekend, a source at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Friday, as the embattled leader moves to block impeachment talks and pave the way for her voluntary departure from office.
The move comes as some Saenuri Party members, who are not loyal to Park, have pressed her to clarify exactly when she would step down over a high-profile corruption scandal involving her and her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil.
"It is my understanding that the president will listen to the views of the Saenuri Party's leadership and non-mainstreamers, and explain her position," the source told Yonhap News Agency, declining to be identified. "At this important juncture, she will not just idle away her time."
On Tuesday, Park called on parliament to determine her fate, pledging to bow out in accordance with the timeline and procedures that the ruling and opposition parties set based on their agreement. But she stopped short of specifying the date for her resignation, spawning doubts over whether she is sincere about her avowed departure.
Some ruling party members who have been critical of Park demanded Park give a clear timeline for her departure by 6 p.m. on Wednesday next week, as opposition lawmakers are pushing to put an impeachment motion to a vote on Friday.
The non-mainstreamers had leaned towards Park's impeachment. But after Park expressed her intention to step aside, many have favored her early departure, which they think will help facilitate a stable government change and prevent the party from breaking up.
A day earlier, the ruling party as a whole decided to push for Park's resignation by the end of April next year with a presidential election to follow two months later.
Opposition parties are seeking to bring Park down as soon as possible, but the passage of an impeachment motion requires endorsement from dozens of ruling party members given that it requires support from two thirds of the 300 lawmakers.
During her talks with ruling party lawmakers, Park is expected to note that it is difficult for her to set an exact date for her departure, as the ruling and opposition parties have yet to engage in any serious negotiations over her resignation. Cheong Wa Dae has repeatedly said Park will comply with whatever decision rival parties make over her fate.
Observers said the list of Saenuri lawmakers she would meet for talks may include Rep. Kim Moo-sung, a former party leader and her factional rival, and Yoo Seong-min, one of the party's potential presidential contenders.'