Park Geun-hye: South Koreans call for the president’s resignation

A large number of angry protesters took to the streets in South Korea this weekend, calling for an immediate resignation from Park Geun-hye, who took office as the country’s first female president after holding office as acting prime minister since 25 February 2013. The 64-year-old was accused of letting her close friend, Choi Soon-sil play a prominent role in important state affairs.

protesters take to the streets demanding south korean president’s resignation

Image shows South Korea’s first female president Park Geun-hye.

Thousands of protesters totaling an estimated nine thousand citizens, held a candle march as they protest with signs that read ‘Who’s the real president?’ and ‘Park Geun-hye step down’.

According to reports, thousands of South Koreans marched through downtown Seoul to City Hall in a peaceful protest widely seen as the biggest anti-government demonstration in the capital.

Jae-myung Lee, a respectable mayor from Seongnam who also leads the opposition Minjoo Party, addressed protesters during the march.

In his words: “Park has lost her authority as president and showed she doesn’t have the basic qualities to govern a country.”

South Koreans lost faith in their 11th president after she gave orders that ten of her senior secretaries should resign from office. Her decision was aimed at covering up series of scandals which opposition said will prove her as “ineffective and inefficient” at next year’s polls.

Geun-hye accepted accusations that she’s mismanaging the country’s classified information, and tendered a televised apology which made matters worse. The country’s political juggernauts made calls for the president to consider reshuffling her cabinet.

Reports quote South Korea’s president as admitting that her friend helps her in preparing speeches but critics say there’s more to that.

The scandal against Park Geun-hye “involves tens of millions of dollars and charges of influence-peddling, spiritual guidance from a ‘Shamanistic prophet’, voices from the dead and dressage, a competitive form of horse-dancing,” the Beijing Bulletin wrote.

“We gave her power and she gave it to a friend, now we want it back,” Kim Jung Hyun was quoted by Bloomberg. The 22-year-old college student shared fliers which had a picture of Choi controlling South Korea’s president Park Geun-hye like a puppet.

Park tendered her unreserved apologies on Tuesday after admitting that she consulted Choi on state matters.

Opposition lawmakers have made claims that Choi has strong links to an unnamed religious cult group – a reason she has been able influence decisions in government since 2013 when Park took over office as the country’s president.

The president allegedly sought spiritual blessings and approval “on confidential documents”.

Though Choi has been away to Germany during the protests, she returned to Seoul on Sunday and has tendered apologies for the troubles she caused.

The controversial woman says she will grant full co-operation to the authorities. Her representative lawyer Lee Kyung-jae told reporters in a televised briefing that “she was not in good health and also tired after a long flight.”

Kyung added: “She [now known as Choi Seo-won] will fully cooperate with the prosecutors’ investigation and state as it is. She ‘deeply apologizes’ for causing upset among the public.” 

Park’s office has been raided by prosecutors who sought proofs of high-handedness against her government.

During her first presidential visit to the United States of America, Park Geun-hye fired Yoon Chang-jung, a Blue House spokesman who was alleged by Washington police to have committed sexual assault against a young woman.

The sexual assault victim was reportedly hired as an intern at the South Korean Embassy in Washington.

However, by error of commission, Park has been criticized for picking the wrong people for senior government posts.