S.Korea's acting president draws opposition fury

Interim South Korean leader Hwang Kyo-ahn refuses to extend special prosecution's probe into presidential scandal

S.Korea's acting president draws opposition fury

World Bulletin / News Desk

Acting South Korean President Hwang Kyo-ahn officially ended hopes Monday of extending the country's presidential scandal investigation beyond the end of its current 70-day term on Feb. 28.

Special prosecutors had asked for 30 more days to conclude unfinished business, including a plan to directly question impeached President Park Geun-hye -- who is accused of forcing corporate donations among a string of charges.

It was a "very difficult decision" for Hwang aimed at helping to "stabilize state affairs", according to a briefing by his chief press secretary Hong Kwon-heui.

While state prosecutors can pick up the case again, special investigators are now expected to rush through the indictments of more than 20 figures connected to the scandal such as arrested Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong.

Park herself is protected from prosecution until she leaves office with the Constitutional Court expected to decide on her impeachment by mid-March.

"We very much regret that Acting President Hwang declined to extend the period when the investigation has not been completed," the probe team's spokesperson Lee Kyu-chul said in response to Monday's announcement according to Yonhap News Agency.

"But we will thoroughly wrap up the case in the remaining period and cooperate with the state prosecution to maintain the charges," he added.

Hwang's decision had an immediate political impact as he was accused of undermining South Korean democracy.

The main opposition Democratic Party swiftly declared its intention to move with three other parties towards impeaching the acting president.

Democratic Party chief Choo Mi-ae criticized Hwang for making "the worst decision in the republic's history", while the Bareun Party's Oh Shin-hwan was also quoted by Yonhap describing the interim leader's move as an act of "tyranny”.

The only camp to accept Monday's move was the ruling conservative Liberty Korea Party, which could be spearheaded by Hwang in a snap election to replace Park based on local reports.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Şubat 2017, 09:25