South Korean President Park Geun-hye said on Tuesday that she will resign her office once parliament develops a plan for a safe transfer of power, amid prosecution claims that she colluded with a friend who wielded government power from the shadows.
Hundreds of thousands of people have gathered in Seoul each Saturday for the last five weeks to demand that Park step down amid prosecutors’ claims that she colluded with a confidante who allegedly manipulated power from the shadows and extorted companies to amass an illicit fortune.
Park would be the first South Korean leader to resign since the country’s first president, Syngman Rhee, quit and then fled to Hawaii amid a popular uprising in 1960. The succeeding government was overthrown by a coup by Park’s late father, the military dictator Park Chung-hee, whose rule also abruptly ended after he was assassinated by his spy chief in 1979.
“I will leave the matters about my fate, including the shortening of my presidential term, to be decided by the National Assembly,” Park said Tuesday in a live address to the nation, referring to parliament. “If the ruling and opposition parties discuss and come up with a plan to reduce the confusion in state affairs and ensure a safe transfer of governments, I will resign from the presidential position under that schedule and by processes stated in law.”