South Korea: Constitutional court upholds President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment

Posted at 9:48 PM, Mar 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-09 21:48:03-05

South Korea’s Constitutional Court has upheld a decision by the country’s National Assembly to impeach President Park Guen-hye.

The decision was unanimous, with all eight judges on the court voting to remove Park from office.

Park is the first South Korean President to be impeached. An election for her replacement must be held within 60 days.

The decision was announced by Justice Lee Jung-mi in a live, national broadcast.

Police issued the “Gabho” emergency order in Seoul ahead of Friday’s announcement, the highest level possible.

Officers are on standby for expected protests, with 270 units being mobilized — about 21,000 in total.

Political chaos

Park’s problems began in October, when revelations emerged about the influence Park’s confidante and adviser Choi Soon-sil had over the President.

Choi is currently on trial for abuse of power and fraud.

Local media and opposition parties have accused Choi of abusing her relationship with the president to force companies to donate millions of dollars to foundations she runs. She denies all charges against her.

Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans braved the brutally cold winter temperatures to take to the streets of Seoul and call for Park’s ouster.

In a brief televised apology however, Park made it clear that she had no intentions of resigning. In December, the National Assembly voted 234 to 56 to impeach her.