President Park Doubles Down and Prepares to Take Impeachment Fight to Constitutional Court

President Park Doubles Down and Prepares to Take Impeachment Fight to Constitutional Court

SEOUL, Dec. 7 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye will follow due legal procedures if parliament passes an impeachment motion later this week, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Wednesday, apparently dismissing calls for her immediate resignation.

Opposition parties have demanded that Park step down right away over a corruption scandal involving her and her longtime friend upon the passage of the impeachment motion. The motion is slated to be put to a vote at the plenary session of the National Assembly on Friday.

"(Park) will abide by the (legal) procedures if (the motion) is passed," a presidential official told reporters, declining to be named. "(She) will wait until the Constitutional Court renders a ruling."

During a meeting with the leaders of the ruling Saenuri Party on Tuesday, Park said that she was determined to accept an impeachment trial at the Constitutional Court, a lengthy process that can take up to 180 days.

Asked if the president and political parties can negotiate a timeline for an earlier departure after the legislature votes on the impeachment motion, the presidential official said it is "legally impossible."

"Once the impeachment process is set in motion following the parliamentary passage of the motion, we cannot help but follow the (due) legal procedures," the official said.

Last week, Park called on parliament to determine her fate, saying she would step down in accordance with the timeline and legal procedures that the ruling and opposition parties set based on their mutual agreement.

The embattled leader made the call apparently to block the impeachment vote and pave the way for a more stable change in government.

But the impeachment drive gained traction after an estimated 2.32 million citizens, along with opposition politicians, took to the streets across the country last Saturday to call for Park's immediate resignation. Park's single, five-year term is due to end in February 2018.

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