S Korea sees massive protest against President Park Geun-hye

Thousands of South Korean people rallied in capital Seoul calling for their president Park Geun-hye to step down over a leaked document scandal. Furious people took to the streets, shouting ‘Step Down, Park Geun-hye’.

This followed an investigation conducted by South Korean media which showed President Park has allowed her close friend Choi Soon-sil, a daughter of a religious cult leader with zero political experience, to interfere in significant state affairs. Owen Miller, lecturer in Korean Studies in SOAS said it is not unusual for South Korean presidents become unpopular towards end of their term. But he believes this is different compared to previous anti-presidential feelings in this country.

Evidence from Ms. Choi’s office suggested that she had access to a large amount of President Park’s confidential documents. She had not only drafted the president’s speeches, but also meddled in state affairs, including some related to sensitive policy issues.

At Saturday’s protest, an opposition politician, the mayor of another city, Lee Jae-myung, made a speech urging Ms. Park to quit her job. He said, ‘Park has lost her authority as president and showed she doesn’t have the basic qualities to govern a country’, ‘She should step down. No, she should be fired’.

This is definitely the biggest crisis in President Park’s political life. Last Tuesday, the president made a public apology on television. Her approval rating fell to around 10% in the next week, which is a record low since she took office. Dr. Miller from SOAS said if Park could survive until the presidential election next year, she would definitely be a lame duck president.

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