South Korean president seeks referendum

South Korea's beleaguered President Roh Moo-hyun will hold a national referendum on his rule in mid-December.

    Roh has seen his popularity plummet in recent months

    Admitting that he has lost confidence in his ability to rule after shaken by a string of financial scandals involving close aides, the president told parliament he would quit if the vote went against him.

    "I reached a situation which I cannot conduct the presidency," he said. " I have no confidence in doing my job under this situation."

    Roh, who was elected for a single five-year term in December last year, said he would hold a fresh presidential election together with April's parliamentary election if he lost the referendum.

    "I reached a situation which I cannot conduct the presidency"

    Roh Moo-hyun
    South Korean President

    Roh's current term normally would have lasted till 2008.

    "I believe the referendum is proper. This is not without legal disputes, but if we achieve a political agreement, a referendum should be possible under current law," Roh said.

    The latest row to embroil Roh involves Choi Do-sul, a confidante of 20 years who was named by prosecutors as having received funds from the scandal-tainted SK Group, shortly after last year's presidential elections.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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