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S. Korean president reshuffles senior advisors on confidante scandal

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-10-30 19:22

SEOUL -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Sunday reshuffled her secretariat amid growing public outcry over a scandal surrounding her longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil.

Park's office said the president approved the resignations of five senior advisors, including presidential chief of staff and senior secretaries for policy coordination, civil affairs, political affairs and public relations.

The senior presidential advisor on policy coordination has been accused of pressuring conglomerates into donating tens of millions of U.S. dollars into recently established nonprofit foundations controlled by Choi.

New secretaries for civil affairs and public relations were already appointed, but three remaining positions will be filled rapidly, the presidential office said.

Three more secretaries, who local media outlets see as the closest aides to President Park since her political career in the late 1990s, also stepped down. One of them reportedly delivered presidential speeches and documents to Choi regularly.

Park's decision came as the first South Korean female leader directed all of her senior staff on Friday night to submit their resignations en masse.

The reshuffle followed rallies in central Seoul on Saturday night by tens of thousands of protestors who demanded Park resign or be impeached. Nationwide gatherings are expected on Sunday night.

Both ruling and opposition lawmakers called on the embattled president to dissolve the current cabinet and form a grand-coalition government by appointing a politically-neutral prime minister and letting him choose cabinet members.

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