South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday asked the Parliament to find a way to facilitate a transition after she steps down from her post, following her involvement in a scandal involving the misuse of her presidential powers, Reuters reported. The opposing Democratic Party, however, accused her of trying to circumvent impeachment proceedings.
Park said, “I will step down from my position once a way is formed to pass on the administration in a stable manner that will also minimise any political unrest and vacuum after the ruling and opposition parties’ discussion.” Citizens have staged public protests demanding the resignation of the 64-year-old leader, who has until now resisted calls to step down following several public apologies.
If impeached, Park will reportedly be the first president to have failed to complete her term since the democratic system was implemented in 1987. Her approval rate dropped to 4% in a weekly survey released by Gallup Korea.
Park has been accused of colluding with Choi Soon-sil, a longtime friend and confidante, to extort money in the form of donations from companies in South Korea. The money, which was transferred to non-profit foundations controlled by Choi, was allegedly used for her personal gain. Park has also been accused of ordering her aides to leak official state documents to Choi, who has no official position in the South Korean government, but is referred to as the “shadow president”, according to The Guardian.
A spokesperson for the Blue House, Park’s executive office and official residence, had said the claims by prosecutors were “not true” and were based on “speculation and imagination”. Park has denied accusations that Choi, the daughter of a cult leader who was a close associate of Park’s father and former president Park Chung-hee, was allowed to perform “cultish rituals” within the presidential residence.