February 27, 2017 10:36
President Park Geun-hye will not be testifying in the final hearing of her impeachment trial on Monday, a possibility the defense had dangled before the Constitutional Court in an apparent bid to drag out proceedings.
That means the court is all set to reach a ruling before acting chief justice Lee Jung-mi retires on March 13.
Meanwhile acting president Hwang Kyo-ahn, a Park loyalist, has decided not to extend the mandate of the independent counsel investigating the massive corruption scandal that has brought the president down.
In a press conference on Monday, a spokesman from Hwang's office said the acting president had been "agonizing over the extension for weeks" but decided not to extend the mandate as the investigation is almost done and the rest can be finalized by the prosecutors. That means the probe by the independent counsel wraps up on Tuesday.
Emotions are running high among protesters as the Constitutional Court's ruling approaches. Huge crowds of opponents and die-hard supporters of Park rallied in downtown Seoul on Saturday, and the protests are expected to continue over the next two weeks.
Supporters plan a massive rally on March 1 Independence Movement Day, with the implausible aim of gathering 5 million of Park's mostly elderly fans for a march on Cheong Wa Dae. Opponents will also hold major demonstrations across the nation with more than 2 million expected to participate.
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