South Korean prosecutors to question President Park as protests swell

Story highlights

  • Hundreds of thousands of people protested in Seoul over the weekend
  • Park has apologized twice for the scandal that's seen several aides resign

(CNN)Seoul prosecutors are set to question South Korean President Park Geun-hye early this week for her role in the political corruption scandal involving an informal adviser.

It follows a second weekend of mass protests that saw hundreds of thousands of demonstrators cram city streets demanding her resignation.
    Park has admitted sharing classified documents with close friend and informal adviser Choi Soon-sil.
    Choi is accused of using her relationship with Park to acquire millions of dollars in donations for her foundations. She's been arrested on charges of abuse of power and attempted fraud.
    According to South Korean news agency Yonhap, this will be the first time in the country's history that a president has been questioned by prosecutors.
    The prosecutor's office is still waiting for a response from the presidential palace and the location of the questioning has not been decided.

    Two apologies

    The corruption scandal began when CNN South Korean affiliate JTBC found evidence that Choi had received secret documents on an abandoned tablet device.
    When Choi's father died, she succeeded him as leader of the Eternal Life Church. For years, she's been giving Park spiritual guidance.
    President Park has already apologized twice for the lapse, but that has done little to assuage thousands of South Koreans who have attended rallies over the past weeks to demand her resignation. Some protesters assert that the marches will continue until Park resigns.
    On Saturday -- in one of the biggest anti-government protests the country has seen in decades -- protesters gathered around the presidential compound in the South Korean capital of Seoul to vent their anger at President Park.
    In a press briefly Sunday, Park's spokesman said the President had "heard the voices of the people yesterday with gravity and deeply realizes the seriousness of the current situation."
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    He added that Park was considering ways to "normalize the state of affairs and fulfill her responsibility as President."

    Resignations and sackings

    Earlier in November, Park asserted in a televised address to the nation that she was ready to co-operate with the prosecutor's investigation.
    "I have already instructed Blue House secretary's office and security office to fully co-operate with the prosecutor's investigation," said Park.
    Multiple aides to President Park have also resigned in the wake of the scandal, including four senior secretaries responsible for political affairs and policy coordination.
    And on November 2, President Park sacked the country's prime minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, replacing him with Kim Byong-joon, a professor at Seoul's Kookmin University.