world : Online Petition to Impeach South Korea’s President Crashes, After Flood of Signatures

Monday 1 July 2024 10:45 PM

Nafeza 2 world - July 1, 2024 8:15 AM EDT

An online petition calling for South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol to be impeached has experienced delays and disruptions following a flood of signatures.

People attempting to access the website on Monday experienced four hour delays and some received an error message showing that at least 30,000 people were attempting to use the website at the same time, according to Reuters. 

So far, over 811,000 people have signed the petition, which accuses Yoon of mishandling the country’s relationship with North Korea and increasing the risk of war, exposing South Koreans to health risks from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, and corruption. 

In a statement released on Sunday, National Assembly Speaker Woo Won-shik promised to solve the issues with the website.

As of writing, the wait time to load the website for petitions to South Korea’s parliament was at 45 minutes, with nearly 32,000 people waiting to use it.

Petitioning the government is a constitutional right in South Korea. By law, if any petition receives more than 50,000 signatures, parliament is required to assign the petition to a committee to determine whether or not the proposal will receive a vote in parliament.

Yoon, who is the leader of the country’s conservative People Power Party, became President of South Korea in May 2022, after narrowly winning an election against the leader of the country’s liberal Democratic Party, Lee Jae-myung. A former prosecutor with no political experience, Yoon has alienated voters with a confrontational style. A March survey found that half of respondents polled found him to have done a “very bad” job in office.

In recent years, South Korea’s politics has become increasingly polarized as debates about the country’s relationship with the North, the legacy of Japanese colonialism, and gender equality have taken center stage. Nonetheless, the Democratic Party expressed reluctance to pursue an impeachment bill following the petition news, local media reported.

“As soon as we speak about impeachment, it becomes an actionable agenda, so we are not currently focusing on or responding to that issue,” a spokesperson for South Korea’s Democratic Party told reporters on Sunday, according to the Korea Times.

South Korea has impeached two of its Presidents before. The first was Roh Moo-hyun in 2004, after he was accused of illegal electioneering. He was later reinstated by the Constitutional Court. The second was Park Geun-hye in 2017, after she was accused of corruption.

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