President Park Geun-hye will accept whatever decision parliament makes regarding her fate, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Wednesday, as opposition parties continued to press her to swiftly resign over a corruption scandal involving her and a longtime friend, from the Yonhap.
|This photo, taken on Nov. 20, 2016, shows Jung Youn-kuk, presidential spokesman, speaking during a press conference at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul. (Yonhap)|
The comments came amid lingering doubts over Park's decision to leave her presidency in the hands of parliament. Addressing the nation Tuesday over the unrelenting scandal, Park pledged to step down "in line with the timeline and the procedures" set by the political parties.
Opposition parties have dismissed her pledge as a political ploy to stall for time and thwart their impeachment push. They, in particular, said that the president's announcement ran counter to public calls for her to bow out "immediately and unconditionally."
"(Park) has said that whatever decision the National Assembly will make, she will follow it as long as it is based on an agreement between the ruling and opposition parties," Jung Youn-kuk, presidential spokesman, told reporters.
Asked if the presidential office thinks Park's five-year term can be shortened through a constitutional revision, Jung said, "Whether that may be a constitutional amendment or not, (Park) will follow the timeline and procedures the National Assembly will set." Park's single presidential term is due to end in February 2018.
A presidential official said that the embattled president appears to have decided to leave her fate at the legislature's discretion last weekend when some 1.5 million people took to the streets in central Seoul to call for her resignation amid opposition parties' push for her impeachment.
During a meeting with senior officials of his office, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn called on the legislature to promptly make a decision over the president's fate to minimize any destabilizing power vacuum.
"From the standpoint of the prime minister who has assisted the president, I feel a great sense of responsibility," he said during the meeting.
"Though we are in a difficult situation, the Cabinet and public servants must focus on their duties and do their best to make sure that state affairs proceed as planned, and that people will not be concerned (about the way the state is being run)."
Meanwhile, the presidential spokesman indicated that Park will soon hold a press conference to further explain her position on a series of allegations facing her. Despite addressing the country three times and apologizing for the confusion the scandal caused, Park has never really clarified her position on key issues, other than hinting that she may have misplaced her trust in those around her.
Earlier this month, the prosecution cited Park as an accomplice in a host of the alleged wrongdoings carried out by her friend Choi Soon-sil and former key aides. The charges include the abuse of authority, the leak of official secrets and coercion.
Cheong Wa Dae has dismissed all the allegations against Park as being unfounded and politically biased, saying she will establish her "innocence" through an independent counsel probe, which is expected to begin next month.