Fire and loathing in former stronghold of South Korea's Park

South Korea's Park ready to resign

The court would have 180 days to deliberate and scrutinize the reasons for the president's removal. After all, they say, if Park really cared about what most South Koreans say they want, she would have simply resigned.

South Korean President Park Geun-Hye enjoyed rock-star popularity for most of her life as a conservative icon - until an influence-peddling scandal turned her into a target of nationwide anger and sparked the dramatic downfall of the country's onetime "princess".

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Park Geun-hye's visit to the market in the southeastern city of Daeju on Thursday comes as her opponents are squabbling over whether and when to impeach her after she made a conditional resignation offer this week. If six of the court's nine justices support the impeachment, Park will be officially removed from office.

The South Korean parliament was set to vote on Friday on whether she should be impeached.

Without the support from the People's Party, the Minjoo Party is unable to put forward the impeachment motion as it requires a half support from the 300-seat parliament.

"I will step down from my position according to the law once a way is formed to pass on the administration in a stable manner that will also minimize political unrest and vacuum after ruling and opposition parties' discussion", she stated.

"This is nothing but a sly trick to avoid impeachment", said Youn Kwan-suk, a spokesman for the main opposition Democratic Party. Discussions to devolve some of the president's regal powers must continue, but they can not be allowed to deteriorate into giving Park a face-saving way out of office.

The non-pro-Park lawmakers aligned itself with the majority and agreed to abandon its push for a time-consuming impeachment process.

The memory of the father, who seized power in an army coup and ruled with an iron fist, dogged Park, with critics accusing her of inheriting her father's intolerance of dissents.

Although unlikely, legislative squabbling could even allow Park to limp across the finish line of her single five-year term in early 2018.

However, the opposition bloc's next biggest seat-holder - the People's Party - broke ranks by urging a delay, with a spokesperson conceding that it was "effectively impossible for the motion to be passed" this week.

A presidential official said that the embattled president appears to have chose to leave her fate at the legislature's discretion last weekend when some 1.5 million people took to the streets in central Seoul to call for her resignation amid opposition parties' push for her impeachment.

Culture Minister Cho Yoon-sun, right, gives a briefing on ministerial projects linked to presidential friend Choi Soon-sil and her aides to lawmakers in the National Assembly as the parliamentary investigation into Choi-gate kicked off on Wednesday.

Protesters shout slogans during a rally calling for South Korean President Park Geun-hye to step down in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016.

She has denied wrongdoing but acknowledged she would need to step down to end the turmoil, amid a series of large protests bringing hundreds of thousands of people to the streets of Seoul on Saturdays.

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