SEOUL: South Korea’s top court has upheld the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye
over corruption, formally ending her rule.
Eight judges from the Constitutional Court Friday issued a verdict to remove Park
from office over a corruption scandal.
It marks the first time a South Korean president has been ousted before the
end of their term since democracy replaced dictatorship in the late 1980s.
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.”
In anticipation of the ruling, Park supporters, many of them dressed in army-style fatigues and wearing red berets, and those who want Park gone began showing up around the Constitutional Court building in downtown Seoul.
Park, 65, 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’s parliamentary impeachment in December came after weeks of Saturday rallies that drew millions who wanted her resignation. Overwhelmed by the biggest rallies in decades, the voices of Park supporters were largely ignored. But they have recently regrouped and staged fierce pro-Park rallies.