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Impeachment motion filed vs Korean leader

SEOUL (AFP) – South Korea’s opposition parties filed an impeachment motion against scandal-hit President Park Geun-Hye on Saturday as a fresh weekly protest was expected to draw a million protesters, organisers said.

The motion, backed by 171 lawmakers in the 300-seat legislature, will be put to a vote in the National Assembly on Friday, lawmakers said.

The joint opposition commands the most seats in the legislature, but will need the support of nearly 30 members of Park’s Saenuri Party to secure the two-thirds majority needed to impeach the president.

“If the impeachment motion fails to get passed because of the lack of cooperation from the ruling party, it must take responsibility for all consequences’’, the main opposition Democratic Party’s floor leader Woo Sang-Ho was quoted as saying by the Yonhap news agency.

Accused of colluding with a close friend who faces embezzlement charges, Park said last week she would be willing to step down in the face of weekly mass protests that have seen millions take to the streets of Seoul and other cities.

But the opposition says Park’s offer, which put the manner and timing of her resignation in the hands of parliament, is an effort to buy time and avoid impeachment.

If passed, the motion would go to the Constitutional Court for approval – a process that could take up to six months.

The ruling party has called on Park to stand down voluntarily in April, allowing a presidential election to be held in June – six months ahead of schedule.

Party officials have given her a week to accept the timeline or face impeachment.