South Korea opposition parties introduce motion to impeach president

South Korea opposition parties introduce motion to impeach president

South Korea’s three opposition parties on Saturday introduced a joint impeachment motion against embattled President Park Geun-hye. The motion [WSJ report], which will be voted on this upcoming Friday, comes just days after Park offered to resign if parliament could come to an agreement on the transition. Some ruling party legislators threatened to support impeachment proceedings if Park did not announce a timeline for her resignation before Friday. The motion accused Park of various crimes including violating the constitution, extorting money from state conglomerates, and allowing friends and aides to influence government decision-making. Despite 171 of the nation’s 300 legislators signing the motion, it remains unclear whether the motion will capture the required two-thirds vote to pass. Even if it passes through the legislature, the impeachment motion would require approval by the Constitutional Court. Park has also been under criminal investigation on corruption allegations, though she currently has constitutional immunity. If, however, Park chose to resign or the vote to impeach were to pass, the state would be allowed to levy criminal charges against her. The president’s approval rating is at an all-time low as further street protests are expected to take place in Seoul this weekend.

The investigation into the president is the latest controversy affecting South Korean government officials. In October Park proposed [JURIST report] to amend the country’s constitutional provision that limits presidents to one term in office. Currently, South Korean presidents can only have a single five-year term, and Park finishes her term in office in February 2018. The Korea Fair Trade Commission, South Korea’s antitrust regulator, confirmed [JURIST report] in August that the country is investigating whether Google violated the country’s antitrust laws. In Kyung-joon, a senior prosecutor in South Korea was indicted [JURIST report] in July on charges of bribery by accepting more than USD $11 million from an executive at the online-game company Nexon during collusive stock transactions over a nine-year period.