South Korean Leader Offers to Resign in Surprise Move

Opposition calls surprise announcement a ploy to delay impeachment
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 29, 2016 12:05 AM CST
South Korean Leader Says She'll Resign
People watch a TV screen showing the live broadcast of South Korean President Park Geun-hye's address to the nation in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday.   (Ahn Young-joon)

South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Tuesday that she will resign her office once Parliament develops a plan for a safe transfer of power. The surprise announcement—which the opposition called a ploy to delay impeachment—comes amid prosecution claims that she colluded with a friend who wielded government power from the shadows. Hundreds of thousands of people have rallied in Seoul each Saturday for the last five weeks to demand that Park step down. "I will leave the matters about my fate, including the shortening of my presidential term, to be decided by the National Assembly," Park said Tuesday in a live address to the nation, per the AP.

Opposition parties had been closing in on an impeachment motion against Park, and even her allies in the conservative ruling party have called for her to "honorably" step down rather than face impeachment. An impeachment motion vote has been planned for Friday. Park would be the first South Korean leader to resign since the country's first president, Syngman Rhee, quit and then fled to Hawaii amid a popular uprising in 1960. The succeeding government was overthrown by a coup by Park's late father, the military dictator Park Chung-hee, whose rule also abruptly ended when he was assassinated by his spy chief in 1979. (Investigators found more than 300 Viagra pills stashed in Park's office.)

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