Park puts ball into SK parliament’s court

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/11/29 23:28:39

South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Tuesday that she would step down in accordance with a timetable set by parliament during her third apology to the nation over the corruption scandal she has been mired in.

Her speech was understood differently. Some observers considered that she intended to resign, but before that she put the ball into parliament's court. Some thought she wanted to buy some time in case there are any changes. But what's certain is that she was compelled to make the remarks.

She was determined not to become the first South Korean president ousted before their tenure ends, but prosecutors made notable progress in their probe into the scandal and found nearly 50 audio files on the phone of Park's close aide that made them feel "an uncontrollable level of disappointment and fury."

The files also shocked the prosecutors as to how the president could be so "incompetent." Yet this incompetency is not unexpected.

As a daughter of the former president, Park became an assemblywoman after staying away from politics for many years. But she has never been a government official that experienced mounting pressure in the policymaking process, and all that she had undergone was political struggle and empty talk.

She may be passionate, but without accumulating experience by climbing up the career ladder step by step, she failed to eliminate her frailty before taking the presidency.

Park wanted to build her image as a woman married to her country. This is appealing in election campaigns, but doesn't work for a president. A country needs its leadership to be more staunch and resilient than ordinary people, and a female leader has to be an iron lady.

Yet Park seems to have never got rid of her role as the daughter of an assassinated former president, and by sharing the power of the presidency with her confidante Choi Soon-sil, she actually showed her weak side.

This reveals the faults of a Western-style election. Many candidates have no governance experience and primarily depend on their eloquence or family background. Once they are elected to become the decision-maker of a country, they often find it difficult to make solid decisions due to lack of experience and sometimes are manipulated by their aides.

Park showed her position of not clinging to the presidency. But it's no easy task for South Koreans to find a suitable successor immediately. She has left everything to parliament.

In South Korea's presidential elections, the key lies in which candidate is better known, gets more support from political parties or is more eloquent. The system is not designed to pick the most experienced and reliable candidate. In this sense, no one is better qualified for the presidency than Park.

There are too many uncertainties ahead to predict any change in South Korea's domestic and foreign policy. It remains to be seen what Park's scandal will bring to the country.    

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