The 11th trial for President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment will take place today and is expected to become an opportunity to estimate the schedule for making the final decision.
This is because the decision on whether to select the large group of witnesses requested by the president’s side will be made today.
Oh Ye-jin has more on the various possibilities and their consequences.
On Feb. 1, the attorneys for President Park Geun-hye made a request for 15 additional witnesses.
Choi Soon-sil and former senior presidential secretary Ahn Jong-bum, who were summoned as witnesses 15 days ago, were also included. The President’s attorneys included them because they “did not question them sufficiently.”
As questioning of witnesses are scheduled up to Feb. 14, it has now become difficult to issue a final decision on impeachment within this month, which was once predicted for late February.
Eyes are now on whether a decision will be made before March 13, when acting Chief Judge Lee Jeong-mi's tenure comes to an end. The possibility will be delineated at today's hearing.
If the court accepts most of the 15 as witnesses, hearings will continue until later this month, making it less likely that a decision will be issued before Judge Lee's retirement.
Of course, theoretically, it could be possible if the hearings were scheduled as tightly as possible. However, considering that hearings have thus far been delayed due to witnesses' disappearance or requests to delay summons, it is highly likely that it will take up the entire month of February.
In contrast, if the court selects about eight witnesses and sticks to a tight schedule, a decision could be made before March 13.
This is why politicians and others are paying close attention to today’s hearing.
Meanwhile, former Chief of Staff Kim Ki-chun has submitted a witness non-attendance statement for today, so the hearing will proceed with Jeong Hyun-sik, the former secretary-general of the K Sports Foundation, and Kim Jong-duk, the former minister of culture and sports.
Oh Ye-jin reporting for Yonhap News TV.
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