South Korea’s president is engulfed in a political scandal with plotlines straight out of a soap opera: rumors of secret advisers, nepotism and ill-gotten gains, plus a whiff of sex. There’s even a Korean Rasputin and talk of a mysterious clique called the “eight fairies.”
Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s first female president and daughter of the military dictator who turned the country into an industrial powerhouse, is facing the biggest challenge of her turbulent tenure.
The essence of the scandal is this: It has emerged that Park, notoriously aloof even to her top aides, has been taking private counsel from Choi Soon-sil, a woman she’s known for four decades. Despite having no official position and no security clearance, Choi seems to have advised Park on everything from her wardrobe to speeches about the dream of reunification with North Korea.
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On Friday, Park directed all of her top advisers to resign en masse, with her spokesman saying a reshuffle would take place, the Yonhap news agency reported. Kim Jae-won, senior presidential secretary for political affairs, told a parliamentary session that Park’s chief of staff had already stepped down.