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(5th LD) Impeachment motion delayed as oppositions fail to narrow gap

All Headlines 19:48 December 01, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES with more info in paras 3-4)
By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Yonhap) -- The impeachment motion against President Park Geun-hye has been pushed back to a later date Thursday as the opposition parties failed to narrow their differences on when to forward it to parliament.

While the main opposition Democratic Party wanted to forward the motion so it can be voted on Friday, the minor People's Party countered that the vote should take place next week. It added more time is needed to win the support of lawmakers from the ruling Saenuri Party.

Later Thursday, People's Party floor leader Park Jie-won told reporters his party wants the vote on the impeachment motion next Monday and that he will try to convince the Democratic Party and the minor opposition Justice Party to get on the same page.

Park had earlier called for a vote on Dec. 9.

President Park has been accused of colluding with her confidante Choi Soon-sil in an influence-peddling scandal. Park said earlier she would comply with lawmakers' decision on her fate while declining to give more details about her future.

"Our goal is to impeach Park, rather than just focusing on moving ahead with the motion," said Rep. Lee Yong-ho, the spokesman of the People's Party. "As the non-Park members of Saenuri wish to continue discussions until at least next Wednesday, it is effectively impossible for the motion to be passed (Friday)."

In order for the impeachment motion to pass, 200 lawmakers of the 300-seat National Assembly need to sign off on it. The opposition bloc is 28 seats short of getting a two-thirds vote and therefore must persuade the non-Park faction in the ruling Saenuri Party to join forces as well.

Saenuri said Thursday it will seek to have President Park step down before the end of April and hold the presidential election in June instead of late 2017, instead of impeaching Park and ending up with what it calls "more confusion in state affairs."

Rep. Chung Jin-suk, the floor leader of Saenuri, said the decision to have the president step down by late April came unanimously among its lawmakers, as they believed that time is needed to prepare for the presidential election and the orderly handover of power.

President Park Geun-hye (Yonhap)


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