Seoul: President Park Geun-hye faces heat as protesters demand resignation

However, Park apologised twice and pledged to cooperate with prosecutors in an investigation.

South Korea: Park Geun-hye names new prime minister
South Korea's President Park Geun-hye attends the East Asia Summit in Vientiane, Laos September 8, 2016. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

South Korean President Park Geun-hye finds herself in thick soup as tens of thousands of citizens took to the streets in Seoul on 5 November demanding her to resign following the abuse-of-power scandal.

It was reported that the candle march was the largest demonstrations in the country's capital for years and around 43,000 people were present. The last protest of this scale in Seoul was against the US beef imports in 2008.

Trouble mounted for the president after her old friend, Choi Soon Sil, who allegedly used her closeness to Park to influence and interfering in state affairs. However, Choi has denied any criminal wrong-doing.

Meanwhile, Park apologised twice and pledged to cooperate with prosecutors in an investigation.

'I feel a huge responsibility (for the scandal) deep in my heart,' Park said, her voice shaking during the high-stakes TV address to the nation...It is all my fault and mistake,' said Park, according to Daily Mail.

'I put too much faith in a personal relationship and didn't look carefully at what was happening...Sad thoughts trouble my sleep at night. I realize that whatever I do, it will be difficult to mend the hearts of the people, and then I feel a sense of shame and ask myself, 'Is this the reason I became president?'' she added.

Park and Choi have been close friends for almost 40 years. The 60-year-old Choi is the daughter of a South Korean religious leader and one-time mentor of Park, Choi Tae-min.

According to Reuters, Koreans have been disappointed by the revelations and said that the leader's involvement in the scandal has betrayed the public's trust and proved the inefficiency of her government. Moreover, her approval rating, released on 4 November by a Gallup poll, has dropped to 5 per cent, the lowest number for a president of the country since such polling began in 1988.

Around 17, 600 police personnel were deployed to the Saturday's protest to maintain strict vigil and ensure peace and order.

"Even though we're just students, we feel like we can't put up with this unreasonable society anymore so we're participating in this protest with like-minded friends," said an 18-year-old high school student during the protest, reported the news agency.

If Park Geun-hye quits following the pressure from the public, she will be the first ever South Korean president to fail to finish the five-year term.