South Korean President Park Geun-Hye Fired As Court Upholds Impeachment

South Korean President Park Geun-Hye Fired As Court Upholds Impeachment
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South Korea’s top court unanimously upheld parliament’s decision to impeach President Park Geun-hye (85) over her role in a corruption scandal involving her close friend, Choi Soon-sil.

This is the first time a South Korean president has been ousted before the end of their term since democracy replaced dictatorship in the late 1980s.

The Constitutional Court assembled on Friday to issue a verdict to remove Park from office over a corruption scandal. She now loses her presidential immunity and could face criminal charges.

Park’s action had “seriously impaired the spirit of … democracy and the rule of law,” said constitutional court chief justice Lee Jung-Mi. “President Park Geun-hye … has been dismissed.”

Election law now requires a snap poll to be held within 60 days.

There have been angry scenes outside the court. Police said two protesters had died. In anticipation of the ruling, Park supporters, many of them dressed in army-style fatigues and wearing red berets.

Ms. Park has been accused of colluding with a friend, Choi Soon-sil, and a former presidential aide, both of whom have been on trial, to pressure big businesses to donate to two foundations set up to back her policy initiatives.

She is also accused of soliciting bribes from the head of the Samsung Group for government favours including the backing of a merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015 that was seen to support the succession of control over the country’s largest “chaebol” conglomerate.

Park has denied any wrongdoing, but apologised for putting trust in her friend.

Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn has called for calm, saying the government should remain stable to prevent internal conflict from spreading.

 

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