By Anna Fifield
South Korean President Park Geun-hye has been removed from office, with the Constitutional Court unanimously upholding a parliamentary vote to impeach her for her role in a corruption and influence-peddling scandal.
Elections for a new president must now be held within 60 days, and polls suggest there will be a change in political direction for South Korea, with the progressive candidate Moon Jae-in holding a strong lead over the conservatives who were once loyal to Park.
“The court dismisses President Park Geun-hye from her position,” said Lee Jung-mi, the acting chief justice, delivering the highly anticipated verdict Friday. “There is no other choice but to decide this verdict.”
The decision marks a historic moment in a country that adopted democracy only 30 years ago, with peaceful protest leading to the removal of an elected leader.
All eight judges on the Constitutional Court voted to uphold the impeachment motion against Park, passed by an overwhelming majority in the National Assembly in December, saying the president had “continuously” violated the law and Constitution.
The court concluded that the president had helped her friend Choi Soon-sil extract bribes from South Korean conglomerates and had personally asked big business for donations. She had leaked confidential documents to Choi, tried to cover up her wrongdoing, then lied about it. The judges also chastised Park for refusing to answer questions about the case.
- SEOUL, (The Washington Post) · Mar 10, 2017