MOSCOW (Sputnik) — A group of the Saenuri Party lawmakers asked the opposition bloc to delete the Sewol ferry disaster from the list of reasons for impeachment and concentrate on the more recent corruption charges, according to South Korean Yonhap news agency.
Saenuri members of the parliament will reportedly play an important role in passing the motion as the opposition bloc lacks the necessary votes.
The Sewol ferry with 476 passengers, mostly pupils on a school-sponsored trip, capsized on its way from the northwestern city of Incheon to the southern island of Jeju on April 16, 2014, killing more than 300 people.
Political scandal around the president broke out in late October when media reported that Park allowed Choi Soon-sil, her friend and "shadow adviser," who held no official post, to edit her speeches thus letting her influence the country's policy. Moreover, Choi was suspected of pressuring South Korean big corporations and extorting money from them for her noncommercial funds. A total of $70 million was transferred to the bank accounts of these funds.
Choi was officially charged on November 20 and the prosecution said that the president was also involved in the scandal. As a result, thousands of people took to the streets demanding the president's resignation.
On December 3, South Korea’s opposition parties handed an impeachment motion against the president. The bill was endorsed by 171 lawmakers from three parties.
A two-thirds majority in the 300-seat legislature is needed for the impeachment process to start.