World Bulletin / News Desk
South Korea's scandal-hit President Park Geun-Hye said Tuesday she was willing to resign early and let parliament decide her fate, a move critics said was a bid to delay impending impeachment.
Park has been engulfed in allegations of influence peddling and claims that tens of millions of dollars have changed hands, sparking widespread anger across South Korea and bringing hundreds of thousands of protesters onto the streets demanding her ouster.
"Once lawmakers come up with measures to transfer power in a way that minimises any power vacuum and chaos in governance, I will step down," she said.
Park's presidency has gone into a tailspin, with accusations that Choi Soon-Sil -- a secretive confidante dubbed "Korea's Rasputin" -- elicited more than $60 million in payments from some of the country's top firms, including Samsung.
Park has been named as a suspect in the growing investigation, making her the first sitting president to be subject to a criminal probe while in office.
While she retains the presidency, she cannot be charged with a criminal offence except insurrection or treason, but she could be charged once she steps down.
Huge protests calling for her impeachment have rocked Seoul every weekend for the more than a month, and opposition parties say they expect to vote to remove her as early as this week.
Park's latest remarks are a possible bid to de-fang that effort, critics say, with the president hoping that she can cut a deal that would avoid -- or lessen -- formal sanctions.
But opponents on Tuesday rubbished her offer.
"Our stance to seek Park's impeachment remains unchanged," Choo Mi-Ae, leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, said, describing Park's remarks as "a trick" designed to distract attention.
afpLast Mod: 29 Kasım 2016, 20:01