This Friday, the South Korean National Assembly will be voting on if President Park Geun-hye should be impeached from office.
There has been tremendous pressure to do so as hundreds of thousands have been protesting since Park’s scandal was exposed.
On Thursday, the opposition-controlled legislature introduced the motion to impeach park and the vote must occur within 72 hours. However, Friday is the last day of the year that the lawmakers are going to convene.
The motion is expected to pass and if it does, she will be suspected immediately. The current prime minister will then be in charge.
The motion will then have to be upheld by South Korea’s Constitutional Court, which can take up to six months.
“The opposition parties and independents have 172 seats in the 300-member assembly; to reach the two-thirds majority required to pass the motion, they would need the support of nearly 30 lawmakers from Park’s Saenuri Party,” writes The Washington Post. “As recently as the beginning of this week, analysts had said the pro-impeachment forces might be scratching to get to 200, but revelations over the past two days have further hurt Park.”
Hankyoreh newspaper has just reported that Park was getting her hair done when the Sewol ferry sank back in April 2014. 300 lives were lost and the government was heavily criticized for its poor efforts to save the survivors. President park was missing for seven hours and for two of them Park’s hairdresser was discovered at the presidential Blue House.
The hairdresser has defended Park by saying she only attended to her for 20 minutes that day and that Park was busy working hard the day the ferry sank.
This along with the scandal involving Choi Soon-sil has caused Park’s approval ratings to fall to a pathetic 4%.
“Park is accused of letting her confidante Choi Soon-sil, who does not hold an official government post, view confidential documents and presidential speeches. Choi is accused of using her relationship with Park to accumulate millions of dollars in donations to her foundations. Choi is charged with abuse of power, fraud and coercion, and two of Park’s former aides also face criminal charges,” writes CNN. “Park will not be charged because the South Korean Constitution affords the President immunity while holding office.”
Park’s impeachment would be in the favor of most of the nation. For the last six weeks, massive rallies in opposing her have taken place.
Park has said she will not be resigning and will only leave office if she is impeached.
“Park will calmly watch the vote and respond appropriately to the unfolding situation,” said an unnamed presidential official to the Yonhap News Agency. “Though she may look nonchalant, [the current situation] might be weighing heavily on her mind.”
Regardless of what is decided, this shows signs of terrifying instability in South Korea.