Closest Allies Tell Park to Go

  • By Hwang Dae-jin

    November 29, 2016 09:53

    Key allies of beleaguered President Park Geun-hye advised her Monday that all is lost and her only option is to quit.

    The allies told Park to give the National Assembly carte blanche in trying to contain the political chaos resulting from a massive corruption scandal involving her close confidante Choi Soon-sil.

    The pro-Park faction in the ruling Saenuri Party led by Suh Chung-won, Choi Kyung-hwan, Yoo Ki-june, Hong Moon-jong and Chung Woo-taik met Monday and agreed that the best option would be for Park to announce a schedule for her resignation and let the National Assembly set the political agenda, according to sources who were present at the meeting.

    "We delivered our advice to President Park through an official who holds a key post," one source said. "It was the final option for us and came out of our patriotic belief that the situation must not deteriorate further and lead to impeachment of the president."

    National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun (second from left) meets with the floor leaders of three major parties at his office in the National Assembly on Monday. From left, Park Jie-won of the People's Party, Chung Jin-seok of the Saenuri Party and Woo Sang-ho of the Minjoo Party

    Gathering at Suh's office in the National Assembly, lawmakers discussed the remaining options. "We all agreed on the need for an orderly exit," Suh said.

    But some pro-Park lawmakers including Saenuri leader Lee Jung-hyun apparently still baulk at the idea.

    One senior lawmaker who was at the meeting said the two-thirds majority necessary to approve an impeachment bill can already be met. "Supposing that the Constitutional Court arrives at a decision on the impeachment bill around March or April, the president would remain virtually incapacitated during that period and it would be better to look for an honorable exit for her," he added.

    Eight former parliamentary speakers also asked Park on Sunday to step down no later than April.

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