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Opposition bloc urges Saenuri to join impeachment bid

All Headlines 14:35 November 27, 2016

SEOUL, Nov. 27 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's opposition parties on Sunday urged the Saenuri Party to join ties for the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye on her influence-peddling scandal, adding the ruling party should respond to the weekly rally that allegedly gathered more than a million a day earlier.

On Saturday, organizers claimed a record 1.5 million people joined the fifth consecutive weekly rally held in central Seoul, demanding Park step down from her office amid allegations that her confidante Choi Soon-sil exerted influence on state affairs and enjoyed unlawful benefits.

With opposition parties set to put the impeachment motion up for a vote next month, they claimed Saenuri should also promptly join the move, especially as its successful passage calls for the approval of at least 200 lawmakers in the 300-seat National Assembly.

Opposition bloc urges Saenuri to join impeachment bid - 1

"The people expressed their right of resistance through the record-breaking rally," the main opposition Democratic Party said. "The president should respond to the strict order of the people."

"The parliament should focus efforts on passing the impeachment motion of Park," the splinter People's Party said, adding it is willing to join ties with anyone who seeks the ousting of Park.

The Democratic Party, People's Party and the minor Justice Party take up 121, 38 and six seats, respectively, which add up to 165. Assuming that all opposition members and seven independent lawmakers back the motion, its passage still needs support from at least 28 Saenuri lawmakers to meet the minimum requirement.

While at least 40 Saenuri lawmakers are estimated to have decided to join the impeachment, the ruling party still remain divided over its path, especially amid the discord among Park loyalists and other members.

"We are well aware of the meaning behind the candlelight rallies held by the people across the country," a Saenuri spokesman said, adding it will focus efforts on normalizing state affairs paralyzed by the scandal.

Protesters hold a candlelight rally at Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul on Nov. 26, 2016, to call for President Park Geun-hye's resignation. Park has been under pressure to step down over a nation-rocking political scandal involving her and her longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil. (Yonhap)

colin@yna.co.kr
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