A South Korean court on Monday urged President Park Geun-hye to decide whether she will attend her final impeachment hearing and to stop stalling trial, indicating it would not accept attempts to delay it any further.
Acting chief justice Lee Jung-mi of the Constitutional Court issued the call during the 15th hearing that was held in Park’s absence, saying her lawyers should stop stalling and respond by Wednesday whether Park plans to attend the final session or not, Yonhap news agency reported.
Depending on her decision, the court will determine whether to hold the final hearing on Friday as planned, or postpone it to March 2 or 3 as requested by the lawyers, Lee said.
The tainted President faces charges of letting her friend Choi Soon-sil meddle in state affairs, as well as colluding with her to extort money from Samsung and other conglomerates. She is also accused of neglecting her duty during the 2014 ferry capsize that killed over 300 people.
Park and her lawyers have long debated the issue of whether she should appear at her final impeachment hearing to plead innocent.
“It will be to the President’s advantage to actively respond to questions,” the acting chief justice said, adding that the court will not accept requests to schedule an additional hearing for the president after the final one has concluded.
“The President must attend (a hearing) on a date scheduled by the court,” she said.
A verdict is expected by March 13.
If Park is ousted, South Korea will hold a presidential by-election within 60 days. If she is reinstated, an election will be held in December as scheduled.