November 30, 2016 10:43
President Park Geun-hye said on Tuesday she is willing to step down, but wants to leave it to the National Assembly to decide the timing and method of her resignation.
"If the National Assembly sets out a path for a stable transition of power, I will resign from the presidency and reduce the confusion as much as possible," she said in a public address.
Ruling Saenuri Party leader Chung Jin-suk said Park's address signaled her intention to bow out before her term ends. But opposition parties immediately rejected the offer, calling it a political gambit aimed at buying the president some time as she attempts to thwart their push for impeachment, which is scheduled for early next month.
The address came after veteran politicians and Park' s close allies advised her to step down in order to end the political crisis sparked by the scandal that has engulfed her.
Park's five-year tenure ends in February 2018.
Critics dismissed Park's comments as a ploy designed to delay the impeachment process. Minjoo Party leader Choo Mi-ae said Park had done little more than toss the ball to the National Assembly.
Adding little to her previous two apologies, Park again insisted she had never pursued her own interests or profits while in office, and denied charges she had pressured big businesses to give money to two dubious foundations set up by her longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil.
Park admitted only that she had "failed to properly manage" those around her. Critics saw Park's comments as a sign that she intends to fight charges by prosecutors that she acted as an accomplice in the massive influence-peddling scandal.
Once again, Park refused to take questions from reporters.
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