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South Korean president to calmly accept impeachment if passed this week

SEOUL, Dec. 6 (PNA/Xinhua) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Tuesday that she will calmly accept the impeachment if it is passed in the scheduled parliamentary vote later this week while waiting for the constitutional court ruling.

Her comments were made during the one-hour meeting with the ruling Saenuri Party's chairman and floor leader in the presidential office that kicked off at about 2:30 p.m. local time.

Saenuri Party whip Chung Jin-suk told reporters after coming back to the National Assembly building that President Park continued to consider accepting the party's call to let the president resign by next April to hold an early presidential election two months later.

The first South Korean female leader said she will calmly and composedly accept the impeachment if it is passed on the parliamentary vote slated for this Friday, vowing to make every effort she can if the impeachment bill is approved.

Opposition and independent lawmakers put forward the bill to impeach the embattled president last Saturday. As there are 172 legislators from the opposition bloc, at least 28 Saenuri lawmakers must endorse the bill to overcome the two-thirds threshold of the 300-seat parliament.

During the meeting, Park also agreed to allow the governing party lawmakers to freely vote on the impeachment motion. Tens of lawmakers of the party's faction, who are not loyal to Park, have agreed to vote for it, raising the possibility for the passage of the bill, according to local media speculations.

Saenuri Party chief Lee Jung-hyun estimated that President Park seemed to prefer her April resignation to the impeachment, but possibility is high for the president to be stripped of all powers if the bill is passed through the unicameral assembly.

For the final approval, the impeachment motion is required to be upheld by the constitutional court though Park will be suspended immediately after the parliamentary passage. In 2004, the late president Roh Moo-hyun was impeached by lawmakers, but the court rejected the bill, returning Roh back to office.

The constitutional court will have as much as 180 days to rule on it, and the two-thirds of the nine-judge court must endorse it to formally impeach the scandal-hit president. If endorsed, President Park will become the first sitting South Korean leader to be impeached in its constitutional history for seven decades.

The opposition bloc was originally supposed to vote on the impeachment bill last Friday, but it was delayed as the ruling party's anti-Park faction refrained from doing it after Park's third address to the nation last week.

The scandal-plagued president issued her third public speech over the scandal involving herself and her longtime confidante, but it enraged South Koreans further as Park admitted to no wrongdoing and said she hadn't pursed any personal gains "for a flash".

Last Saturday's protest rally, the sixth since the scandal emerged in October, drew 2.3 million demonstrators across the country, topping the record turnout of 1.9 million tallied in the previous weekend demonstration. (PNA/Sputnik)

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