Wednesday, 23 August, 2017

Impeached Leader Was South Koreas's First Female President

A street in the Myeong-dong shopping district in Seoul is deserted on Monday. /Newsis A street in the Myeong-dong shopping district in Seoul is deserted on Monday. /Newsis
Sammy Stanley | 11 March, 2017, 00:21

On Friday, South Korea's constitutional court unanimously ruled to remove the country's president, Park Geun-hye, from office.

Chief Justice Lee Jung-Mi said that Park's actions had "seriously impaired the spirit of representative democracy and the rule of law".

If the court formally unseats Park, a presidential election must be held within 60 days.

In 2004, South Korea's parliament impeached another president, Roh Moo-hyun, but the Constitutional Court later reinstated him.

She now loses her presidential immunity and could face criminal charges.

Some women also found it humbling that one of the highest judges in the country does her own hair instead of hiring a stylist even on such an important day.

Park's powers had been suspended since a legislative impeachment vote in December, but she has lived in the presidential Blue House, her childhood home, until now.

In addition, the USA deployment of a high-tech missile defense system in South Korea has riled up China, which claimed the Pentagon was trying to beef up its spying capabilities. Those same protesters clashed with Park's supporters and police outside the court Friday, with Yonhap reporting that the clashes grew heated after the decision was announced. He lost to Park in the 2012 election and has been gaining popularity during throughout the impeachment scandal. Her political career has notched a pair of firsts: She was the country's first female leader, and is now also the first democratically-elected leader of South Korea to be removed from office. Park has maintained her innocence throughout. Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn will stay in office in the interim.

The political scandal involving Ms Park and an old friend of hers, Choi Soon-sil, has rocked South Korea, sparking regular huge protests both against and for her.

'Hereupon, in a unanimous decision by the court panel, we issue a verdict: We dismiss the defendant, President Park Geun-Hye'.

The ruling Liberty Korea Party, formerly known as Saenuri, apologised to the people, saying it "failed to fulfil our duty as the ruling party and failed to protect the dignity and pride of South Korea". So far she has avoided talking to authorities, a fact that could change if they were to seek an arrest warrant.

Thousands of people celebrated the historic decision on the streets of the capital Seoul, with polls showing that between 70 and 80 pre cent of South Koreans had wanted the court to throw Ms Park out of office.

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