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S Korean opposition parties discuss impeachment of president after prosecutors' announcement

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-11-20 16:18

SEOUL - Opposition political parties in South Korea are expected to move to impeach President Park Geun-hye as prosecutors said Park had conspired with her longtime confidante and former aides for multiple crimes.

Presidential hopefuls and senior lawmakers from three major opposition parties, including the biggest opposition Minjoo Party and minors People's Party and Justice Party, held an emergency meeting on Sunday after the prosecutors' announcement.

The eight political heavyweights confirmed that President Park's clear and grave offenses are a ground for impeachment, agreeing to ask the three parties and the parliament to discuss the impeachment while separately continuing a campaign to force the president to step down.

The agreement came hours after the prosecution office said in its interim probe results announcement that Park has a complicity "to a significant extent" with her decades-long friend, Choi Soon-sil, and two former presidential aides indicted on Sunday for criminal charges.

Park became the first incumbent South Korean president in history to be investigated by prosecutors as a criminal suspect. Prosecutors vowed to continue an investigation into the chief executive.

The politicians in the opposition bloc also asked their parties to rapidly draw up detailed measures to minimize power vacuum from the expected resignation or impeachment, including the appointment of a new prime minister proposed by a parliamentary agreement who would form a stopgap coalition cabinet.

They shared views that President Park should completely distance herself from all state affairs such as the push to sign a military intelligence pact with Japan and approve the state-authored history textbook.

The Park administration hurriedly pushes the signing of the accord with Japan on direct exchange of military intelligence on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s nuclear and missile programs.

After resuming talks earlier this month, the two countries already initialed the deal on Monday. South Korea is scheduled to approve it at a cabinet meeting next Tuesday that is forecast to be chaired by President Park.

Meanwhile, the impeachment can be a tough option to select as opposition lawmakers are required to win at least 200 ayes from the 300 parliamentary seats to approve an impeachment motion. The ruling Saenuri Party has over 120 seats in the National Assembly.

The ruling party's non-President Park faction members and its presidential potentials gathered separately to discuss how to let the embattled president secede from the party, according to local media reports. The gathering drew about 80 lawmakers and politicians.

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