[Remembering Sewol Disaster UK Statement on Park Geun Hye’s Presidential Announcement 29 November 2016]
There is no cause yet to celebrate president Park Geun Hye’s announcement, apparently offering to let Parliament arrange her exit. In reality she is trying to avoid impeachment and delay her departure.
“If the governing and opposition parties inform me of the way to minimize the confusion and vacuum in state affairs and ensure a stable transfer of power, I will step down as president…”
So, even though she is at the centre of an enormous scandal and has the lowest public approval of any leader in South Korean history, Park reserves the right to approve parliamentary plans, which she knows could take considerable time. Talk of arranging a smooth transition is undoubtedly a coded message that she won’t step down unless impeachment is dropped. Any ongoing criminal investigation would be cited as the ‘instability’ and ‘confusion’ she insists must be absent in order to have her term shortened.
Park could, and should, have simply resigned today. Not one of the citizens taking to the streets has held up a placard saying, “negotiate with parliament a possible shortening of Park’s tenure”. The message from millions, “Park Geun Hye Resign!” is not difficult to understand.
Since the beginning of her presidency Park Geun Hye has been bad news for South Korea. The Sewol tragedy proved her to be an inept and heartless leader. There have been countless examples of dictatorship-style rule but it has taken the extraordinary drama of Choi-gate to galvanize near universal public condemnation of her presidency. Park’s announcement today represents an attempt to leave office without actually resigning and to retain a semblance of respectability. Most of all it is an attempt to evade justice.
Despite the announcement, Park Geun Hye’s immediate and unconditional resignation is still the only thing the Korean public will accept. Continue reading “Remembering Sewol Disaster UK Statement on Park Geun Hye’s Presidential Announcement 29 November 2016”