No Agreement Yet on Extending the Special Counsel Probe into President Park's Impeachment
SEOUL, Feb. 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's parliamentary chief and political parties on Thursday failed to agree on having the speaker exercise his authority to put to a vote the proposal to extend the term of the independent counsel investigating a corruption scandal involving President Park Geun-hye.
National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun and the floor leaders of the ruling Liberty Korea Party, the main opposition Democratic Party, the People's Party and Bareun Party gathered earlier in the day to discuss using the speaker's authority to bypass committee-level deliberations and set up a full house vote.
The participants, however, failed to reach a consensus amid strong protest from the ruling Liberty Korea Party.
Opposition parties have been seeking to adopt a bill to extend the activity of the independent counsel whose term ends this month as Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn is unlikely to approve the request.
Unless Hwang gives his approval, the independent counsel must end its activity by the end of this month. Park was impeached by the parliament in December for her alleged link to the corruption scandal involving her confidante Choi Soon-sil.
If the Constitutional Court approves the ouster, South Korea has 60 days to pick a new president. The ruling party has been protesting the extension apparently in fear that the prolonged probe would adversely impact its chances in the presidential election and benefit the opposition bloc.