S. Korean court to rule on President Park's impeachment on Friday

Lucy Hill
Марта 12, 2017

South Korea's Constitutional Court has unanimously ruled to remove president Park Geun-hye from office, ending a 92-day leadership crisis that has plunged the country into chaos and brought hundreds of thousands of protesters on to the streets.

A supporter of South Korean President Park Geun-hye cries during a rally opposing her impeachment near the Constitutional Court in Seoul, South Korea, on Friday, March 10, 2017.

With Park out, South Koreans' attention is now turning to what leadership the next election will usher in, and how the new leadership will handle relationships with the U.S. and North Korea.

Ousted South Korean leader Park Geun-hye is keeping her silence as calls grow for her arrest.

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

"There was no reason for the impeachment", Jason Choi, 36, told CNN outside City Hall, where he stood draped in a South Korean flag. The upheaval comes days after North Korea test-fired several ballistic missiles and as the Trump administration began deploying a missile defense system to South Korea.

Police confirmed a second person had also died while protesting against Ms Park's removal, but gave no further details. It was an unusually quick response from the rogue nation, which typically waits days to report worldwide news, according to Reuters.

Ms Park's office said she would not be leaving the Blue House, South Korea's presidential palace, on Friday nor making any statement.

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Dozens of protesters and police officers were also wounded in the scuffles. In the photo below, a Park supporter is pepper sprayed during clashes with police.

Park's lawyer, Seo Seok-gu, who had previously compared Park's impeachment to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, called the verdict a "tragic decision" made under popular pressure and questioned the fairness of what he called a "kangaroo court".

But the ruling means she is the first leader to be stripped of presidential powers since the country became a democracy in the late 1980s.

Park, 65, no longer has immunity as president, and could now face criminal charges over bribery, extortion and abuse of power in connection with allegations of conspiring with her friend, Choi Soon-sil.

The court said she had broken the law by allowing Ms Choi to meddle in state affairs, and had breached guidelines on official secrets by leaking numerous documents.

Prosecutors have already identified Park as a criminal suspect.

Park will leave the Blue House only after her private house in prosperous southern Seoul is repaired and cleaned to accommodate her and her security detail. He followed months of political paralysis and turmoil over a corruption scandal that also landed the head of the Samsung conglomerate in jail and facing trial.

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