By Eu Ro Wang
Now that her behind-the-scenes decision-maker has been been arrested, Korean President Park Geun Hye has to make a decision by herself for the first time in her presidency.
So, what does she do? She finds another decision-maker to construct the future instead of her: the Korean Parliament.
On December 9th, a historic vote by the Korean Parliament decided that President Park would be impeached. Even though the event was predicted, with her approval rating hovering only around 4% as well as thousands protesting against her, this impeachment may lead Korea’s economy and politics into a downward spiral. Over the next six months, the Constitutional Court will decide whether or not the impeachment was justified, which will result in a new election. Until then, the prime minister will handle all executive decisions.
Park’s decision to give power to Parliament presents two major problems.
The first is that the prime minister will handle major decisions that will largely affect the nation’s stability. The prime minister of South Korea, Hwang Kyo-Ahn, who Park tried to replace, is “unimpressive” and has faced accusations of oppression of freedom of speech.
In midst of this transition, South Korea has been facing severe economic and political chaos. As a result of China’s economic downfall, Korea’s economy has been faltering. With threats from North Korea to Donald Trump’s remarks foreshadowing withdrawal of military support including the nuclear umbrella from Korea, military and political stability is also floundering. With an evaporating mandate and limited power, it will be nearly impossible for Hwang to keep stability in Korea with all these problems looming. However, if Park decided to leave now, there will be an election in 60 days and a new president will take office. With all of the economic, political, and military issues present, the general public will select a president apt to handle these issues.
Secondly, even if it is nearly impossible, the Constitutional Court could potentially decide that she is not at fault. This would lead to even more protests, and there is no doubt that there will be instability within Korea’s government and chaos in the nation. This would force Park to resign anyway and then leave 60 more days until the new president begins their term. To elongate this chaotic time is undoubtedly detrimental to the nation’s stability and general good, so Park must resign now.
By giving power to the Parliament, there is no doubt that repentance was absent in Park. To let the Constitutional Court decide gives her immunity from prosecution for the next six months, a decision she made for her own benefit, rather than for the benefit of her country. She committed a crime against the nation after being given the responsibility to improve it. She must face punishment rather than avoiding it. If she really did care for the general good of her country, she would step down now.