Park Geun-hye makes first public appearance since impeachment row broke

"The non-Park [lawmakers] are going to have to come back to the impeachment option - if they don't, we're going to see a situation of such intensity and ferocity that I don't want to imagine", Lim predicted.

The country's first female leader is accused of letting a personal friend, who is being investigated for corruption, meddle in state affairs.

"I will leave all decisions, including the shortening of my presidential term, up to the National Assembly", Park said.

Her proposal was considered an alternative to impeachment.

"It's true that some cracks have taken place at anti-Park forces in the Saenuri Party after her speech", said an official at the main opposition Democratic Party, formerly known by its Korean-language name, Minjoo.

However, Park has refused any voluntary retreat. A few of the non-Park wing lawmakers who had previously supported Park's impeachment now oppose it or are withholding judgment after Park's talk, sources said. "It is a mere strategy to disturb the ongoing move toward impeachment", MPK chairwoman Chu Mi-ae said. According to a law governing presidential impeachment, the motion is supposed to be voted on 24 to 72 hours after its presentation to the legislature. "But the lawmakers who will vote against it tomorrow will still vote against it next week".

The three opposition parties together hold 165 of the single-chamber parliament's 300 seats and can initiate an impeachment motion.

But others maintain the ruling and opposition party sides should at least try to negotiate toward an April resignation by Park.

By 2008, Park had reversed her party's fortunes and it returned to power.

The city of 2.5 million, 240 km (150 miles) southeast of Seoul, is also where her father, assassinated president Park Chung-hee, went to school and was a stronghold of power for South Korea's premier political family.

Park's first term was set to end in February 2018.

Hwang Young-cheul, a member of the breakaway group, said on Tuesday it was willing to negotiate for an exit plan for Park but if all sides failed to reach an agreement by Friday week, it would join the opposition's impeachment motion.

"All the lawmakers of the party unanimously approved this timetable", parliamentary floor leader Chung Jin-Suk was quoted as saying by the Yonhap news agency after a crucial party meeting.

"With the way [the President] keeps coming up with these craven and sneaky political ploys, there's no choice", said former National Assembly Speaker Kim Soo-han in a telephone interview with the Hankyoreh.

All the opposition parties are exploiting the public hostility to Park to position their candidates ahead for the next presidential election.

At the same time, the president's office is increasing pressure on the deputies. Impeachment could have been quicker. Even the pro-Park faction has begun to call for her to resign "honorably".

The JoongAng Ilbo conducted a poll of 129 Saenuri lawmakers on November 22 and 23, before Park made the offer to the National Assembly to decide her fate.

Opposition parties agreed Wednesday to push for an impeachment vote Friday, but will regroup and try again December 9 if they don't have enough initial support to impeach Park over what prosecutors say was collusion with Choi Soon-sil, a confidante who allegedly had a large say in government affairs.