Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s first woman president who has been embroiled in a deepening corruption scandal for the last five weeks and facing calls for her impeachment or resignation, offered to step down in a dramatic live television address to the nation on Tuesday. However, the offer came with some strings attached. Park said her resignation was offered on the condition that South Korea’s Parliament organize a plan for a smooth transition of power.
“I am giving up everything now,” Park said in the emotional address as a phalanx of reporters looked on. “If the governing and opposition parties inform me of the way to minimize the confusion and vacuum in state affairs and ensure a stable transfer of power, I will step down as president according to their schedule and legal procedures.”
Park’s political rivals denounced the conditional offer as a stall tactic that might help her avoid an impeachment. Her five-year term is due to expire in 2018. The development is the latest turn in a saga that has taken some unusual twists, including Park being accused earlier this month of using the name of a TV character as an alias while staying at an anti-aging clinic. The real controversy swirling around Park, though, involves her close friend and the daughter of a late cult leader, Choi Soon-sil. Choi’s father became a dear friend to Park after her mother was assassinated in 1974. Park is accused of allowing Choi, a private citizen, to influence government affairs, an abuse of power. Each of the last five weekends, the country has seen its largest protests as millions have packed the streets of Seoul calling for Park to step down.
Watch a portion of Park’s remarks below. It’s only the second time this month she’s spoken publicly and she once again offered a “sincere apology” to South Koreans, but maintained that she has done nothing wrong.
Read the full story at The Associated Press.