Impeachment Motion Against President Park Filed at National Assembly
SEOUL, Dec. 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's three opposition parties handed in an impeachment motion against President Park Geun-hye on Saturday for her alleged violations of the Constitution, which will be put to a vote at the National Assembly plenary session next week.
A total of 171 lawmakers supported the motion, which accounts for every member of the three opposition parties and independents, excluding the parliamentary speaker.
The motion will officially be proposed during a regular parliamentary session on Thursday, with the vote to place on Friday.
Park has been facing the biggest crisis of her political career due to 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 president.
The motion claimed Park violated the Constitution as well as other laws, adding she took advantage of her authority granted by the people.
The opposition parties said the president broke the country's supreme law by allowing Choi to exert influence on state affairs, while disrupting the market system by forcing conglomerates to donate funds to the Mir and K-Sports foundations, which could be considered a form of extortion. Investigators have claimed that Choi may have tried to siphon off money to enrich herself from these entities.
As widely expected, the motion also 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 sank 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 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.
Park loyalists in the Saenuri Party have opposed the impeachment motion and argued for the president to step down voluntarily by late April.
Park dissenters in the ruling party, meanwhile, have been urging the presidential office to come up with a detailed plan of retreat by Wednesday, adding they will vote on the motion if she fails to do so.
Observers have, however, said that even lawmakers critical of Park in the past may not vote for the motion by the opposition especially since Saenuri already passed a resolution supported by all its members outlining a timetable for Park's resignation and transfer of power.'