South Korean President Park Geun-hye has accepted the resignations of her top presidential aides, including the chief of staff, the presidential office said on Sunday, amid a deepening political crisis.
A protester chants slogans during a protest denouncing President Park.
Also out are private presidential secretary Jeong Ho-seong and two more of Park's closest aides.
"I can only think of two ways for Park Geun-hye to get out of this situation: She can propose a grand-coalition government or promise to step down after a constitutional amendment [allowing her to cede power] is passed", he said.
"I made a decision to join the candlelight rally today because this total nonsense involving President Park and Choi has reached well beyond its limit", said Shin Sook-hee, 40, who came from Suwon with her 10-year-old daughter.
The woman at the heart of a political scandal engulfing South Korean President Park Geun-Hye reportedly returned to the country Sunday, October 30, to face accusations of influence-peddling and meddling in state affairs.
Park's ruling party has also considered calling for a national unity government, which would effectively side-line their own president.
The scandal has also taken on a unusual twist, as rumors swirl of Choi's links to a religious cult, depicting her as a "shaman" who has been manipulating Park through supernatural means and even comparing her to Russian mystic Rasputin.
But South Korean media have uncovered evidence that, they claim, shows that Choi Soon-sil wielded undue influence over the president.
The South Korean leader on Sunday carried out a partial reshuffle of her key aides after ordering her secretariat to hand in their resignations earlier this week. 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. He said Choi had asked for a day to rest before speaking with prosecutors as she was "not in good health and also exhausted after a long flight".
Choi has spoken with prosecutors to schedule her questioning, Lee said.
Choi left Europe on a flight from London to avoid media camped out in Germany, Lee said. Police seized government computers and are looking into allegations that Choi received government documents and used her involvement in government affairs to solicit donations for her NGOs. After the scandal opposition parties have demanded a thorough investigation, but have not raised the possibility of impeaching her.
Scott Seaman, a senior analyst at Eurasia Group, said the crisis will make it harder for Ms. Park to push through economic initiatives, such as labor-market reforms. At the time she was serving as acting first lady after the 1974 assassination of her mother. Ms. Park's public approval rating has sunk to about 14% in one poll, similar to the levels of other recent presidents, all of whom completed their terms.