S.Korean president's approval rating drops on confidant scandal

Updated: 2016-10-27 15:36


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S.Korean president's approval rating drops on confidant scandal

South Korean President Park Geun-hye releases a statement of apology to the public during a news conference at the Presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, October 25, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

SEOUL - South Korean President Park Geun-hye's approval rating dropped to the lowest since her inauguration in February 2013 on mounting controversy over Choi Soon-sil, the president's longtime confidant suspected of intervening in state affairs.

Park's approval rating stood at 21.2 percent this week, down 7.3 percentage points from the previous week, a survey by a local pollster Realmeter showed on Thursday. The survey was conducted on 1,528 adults between Monday and Wednesday.

Wednesday's daily survey tumbled to 17.5 percent, marking the first time that the president's support rate fell below 20 percent.

The pollster said Park's approval rating posted the lowest in almost all of regions, ages and ideological preferences, noting that those in their 60s or older living in southeastern regions, a major base of support for Park, turned their backs severely.

Park's loss of key supporters came amid mounting controversy over Choi who has been at the center of a political scandal arising from the establishment of Mir and K-Sports foundations.

The foundations gained an unprecedentedly quick approval of their establishments, with tens of millions of U.S. dollars in donations coming from major conglomerates, including Samsung and Hyundai.

Choi was suspected of misusing the foundations and exerting her influence in order to gain business favors for her partners and preferable treatment for her daughter.

President Park made a public apology on Tuesday following a report of local cable channel JTBC that Choi had accessed speeches of the president even before they were actually delivered. It triggered speculation about Choi's editing of the president's speeches, which give a direction of state management.

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