President Park Geun-hye removed from office as impeachment motion upheld

Cheryl Sanders
March 11, 2017

South Korea's Constitutional Court has formally removed President Park Geun-hye from office over a corruption scandal, sparking rallies that have left two people dead.

Police were braced for violent confrontations between the two crowds after three people died and dozens were injured in clashes between police and Park supporters after the ruling on Friday.

The Constitutional Court of South Korea ousted President Park Geun-hye on March 9 after months of unrest in the country, including protests against government corruption.

South Korea for too long was held hostage by its power-hungry president, Park Geun-hye.

Park has not made a statement and remained holed up in the presidential palace, but would soon leave to her private residence, a spokesperson said. Park was also accused of neglecting her duties during the 2014 Sewol ferry sinking that killed more than 300, but the judges said the charge did not warrant deliberation by the court. In a written submission to the court on February 27, she said, "I have never been involved in corruption or graft during my political journey".

Prosecutors have branded Park as an accomplice to her longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil, who is now in custody for multiple charges including bribery.

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. All have denied wrongdoing.

She took office as the 18th president four years ago, after winning over a majority of vote in the December 2012 presidential election. Worse for her, losing the office potentially opens her up to criminal prosecution.

Park's removal would allow South Korean policy makers - including acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn - to focus more on a slowing economy, escalating tensions with North Korea and economic retaliation from China over the the Thaad missile-defense system. Lee's trial for bribery and embezzlement began on Thursday, in a court case being billed as the trial of the century.

Prime Minister and acting President Hwang Kyo-Ahn said:"To stop internal conflicts from intensifying, we should manage the social order and keep a stable government so that national anxiety and the global community's concern can be settled".

The rather swift downfall of South Korea's first female president is complete.

Other reports by iNewsToday