South Korea's disgraced leader Park Geun-hye has made her first comment on a constitutional court's ruling on her impeachment after remaining silent for two days. Her statement stopped short of accepting the court's verdict, but she apologised to supporters for failing to finish the five-year presidential term.
Shortly after she vacated the presidential palace and reached her private residence on Sunday (12 March), Park, South Korea's first democratically elected leader to be impeached said, "I feel sorry that I have failed to complete the presidential mandate given to me. Though it will take time, I believe the truth will be definitely unearthed."
Park's impeachment – a decision made by the South Korean parliament in December 2016 with an overwhelming majority – was upheld by the constitutional court on 10 March ending months of political crisis. South Korea's first female president was accused of allowing access to her close confidante to sensitive government details in a large-scale corruption scandal.
Although Park has maintained that she is innocent, her latest remarks have riled political opponents and activists alike.
"It seems that Park does not admit her involvement in the influence-peddling scandal. Park acts like she defies the court's ruling on her impeachment," said Youn Kwan-suk of the Democratic Party. "Park will face prosecutors' investigation as a civilian suspect," he said and added that her latest comments are squarely aimed at her supporters rather than at the South Korean people in general.
The liberal People's Party and conservative Bareun Party have also echoed similar views in urging Park to acknowledge the challenges she faces exhorting her to confess the wrongdoing on her part.
An alliance of civic groups, which has been campaigning against the embattled president during the entire political crisis, has called for Park's immediate prosecution. The coalition said: "Since Park said she will be responsible for the result, the prosecutors should not hesitate to impose an overseas travel ban on Park and arrest her."