South Korea's Cabinet approves independent counsel Bill over political scandal

South Korean President Park Geun Hye attends an event to grant certificates of appointments to new officials at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on Nov 18, 2016.
South Korean President Park Geun Hye attends an event to grant certificates of appointments to new officials at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on Nov 18, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL - South Korea's opposition parties will be allowed to pick its candidates for an independent counsel to investigate the political scandal engulfing President Park Geun Hye, after a Bill was approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday (Nov 22).

The endorsement was announced at a Cabinet meeting helmed by Mr Yoo Il Ho, the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, according to Yonhap News.

Ms Park has reportedly not attended Cabinet meetings for six consecutive weeks as she faces overwhelming calls to quit over the influence-peddling scandal involving her close friend and confidante Choi Soon Sil.

Ms Park signed the Bill into law later on Tuesday. It is expected to take effect on Wednesday.

This comes about a week after the Bill was passed by the National Assembly.

Under it, the main opposition Democratic Party and the splinter People's Party will select two candidates. Ms Park will then designate one of the two to the independent counsel.

Yonhap reported that around 105 investigators will join the team to study the scandal further.

The counsel has 20 days to prepare for the investigation, and 70 days to complete it.