Constitutional Court Aiming to Finish Impeachment Trial by March, President's Party Says Not to Rush

Constitutional Court Aiming to Finish Impeachment Trial by March, President's Party Says Not to Rush

SEOUL, Jan. 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's ruling Saenuri Party said Tuesday the Constitutional Court should not be in a hurry to make its ruling on President Park Geun-hye's impeachment to ensure fairness.

   The remark came as Park Han-chul, the outgoing chief of the nine-justice court, earlier called for a verdict to be given by March 13 to ensure a fair trial. The chief justice steps down on Tuesday with the term of his fellow judge Lee Jung-mi ending on March 13.

   Rep. Chung Woo-taik, the party whip, said it was inappropriate for the outgoing chief to set a deadline, claiming a trial that does not review all aspects of contention can cast question on the legitimacy of the final verdict.

   "The court must come up with the best conclusion based on the Constitution, law and Constitutional conscience, without any personal or political interests," Chung said.

   "The people and the political realm should wait for the Constitutional Court to make decisions solely based on the law and conscience, while preparing to accept the outcome," he added.

   Park was impeached by parliament in December due to the corruption scandal involving her confidante Choi Soon-sil.

   The country's main opposition Democratic Party, meanwhile, said the Constitutional Court should not pick the outgoing chief's successor as it could hinder ongoing procedures.

   "If we nominate a successor, the new head will have to begin trials from scratch. It contradicts the people's voice that urges an end to the situation promptly," Rep. Woo Sang-ho, the main opposition's whip said.

   "We hope Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn makes a wise decision on the issue. Even if he nominates a successor, he will not win approval from parliament," Woo also said.

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