S. Korea's Parliament Sets up Presidential Impeachment Vote

The parliamentary session for the vote was scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. (0600 GMT), with the secret balloting process expected to take about one hour, according to media reports.

Cloistered in the presidential Blue House, which in a twist of fate befitting a Greek tragedy is also her childhood home, she has had few visitors, aides said.

"Whether you support or oppose it, all lawmakers and South Korean people who are watching this grave situation unfold must feel so miserable and heavy at heart", he added.

National Assembly Speaker Chung Se-kyun ordered the chairman of the assembly's legislation and judiciary committee to convey the original version of the motion to the Constitutional Court.

If parliament votes for impeachment, Park would not be immediately removed. If no vote is taken within this period, the motion shall be deemed abolished.

In South Korea, decisions from the presidential office are key in economic policy making.

While Roh's impeachment was challenged by the public at the time, Park has faced snowballing public demand to step down.

Mass rallies have been held in the capital, Seoul, every Saturday for the past six weeks to press her to quit.

Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn will become Acting President for the duration of the court's deliberation. The 9-member Constitutional Court is considered conservative in its makeup but some of its former judges have said the case against Park is strong and was likely to be approved.

Park is accused of corruption related to a confidante, Choi Soon-sil, who collected at least $70 million and got advantages for her family based on a long-time friendship with the president.

She has acknowledged that she allowed her close friend and spiritual advisor, Choi Soon-sil, to interfere in government affairs by seeing confidential documents and reviewing speeches in advance.

She also holds onto the title "President".

Though Park had said she would step down step down if the Assembly asked her to do so, she is now refusing.

Opposition lawmakers say they plan to propose a law to make it more clear what Hwang can and cannot do as interim leader. Park's offer to resign by April has been spurned.

The Justice Party went even further.

Kang Dong-wan, a professor at Dong-A University in Busan, said the large impeachment vote from Park's own party was probably a result of rising crowds at weekly demonstrations demanding Park's ouster. The move was aimed at pressuring members of the ruling Saenuri Party to follow suit, People's Party spokesman Son Kum-ju said. He said the motion will remain unchanged, with no compromises.

"More than 40 Saenuri lawmakers made the request on the condition that they will jointly sponsor the motion if the change is made", Rep.

A Realmeter poll released on Thursday said 78.2 percent of respondents wanted Park to be impeached.

The opposition parties continued their efforts to secure enough votes.

If the motion proceeds, Park would be the country's second leader to face impeachment.

The dictator president Park Chung-hee put the Chaebols or conglomerates, like Samsung and Hyundai at the centre of the economy to drive the growth.

If the impeachment vote passes, the country's Constitutional Court will have up to 180 days to determine whether to formally end Park's presidency.

November 4: Park in her second apology over the scandal expresses remorse and reaches out for sympathy, but denies that she was involved in any legal wrongdoing. According to the principle of double jeopardy, an item voted down can not be voted on again during the same session.

"That said, it's going to be extremely hard for a candidate from (Park's) party to win - there is such deep ill will and discontent toward her and her party".



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