RoK court upholds impeachment of Park, removes her from office

Saturday, 2017-03-11 20:45:29
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Former RoK President Park Geun-hye (Credit: Reuters)
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The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Korea (RoK) unanimously upheld the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye on Friday, removing her from office after a 92-day leadership crisis and triggering a presidential election in the weeks to come.

The ruling, which was announced by the court's acting chief and televised live, made Park the nation's first democratically elected leader to be ousted. The 65-year-old daughter of a former president was impeached by parliament on December 9 over a corruption and influence-peddling scandal centred on her close friend.

The National Assembly accused Park of letting her friend Choi Soon-sil meddle in state affairs, colluding with her to extort money from conglomerates, and neglecting her duties during a 2014 ferry sinking that killed more than 300. Choi, who had no post in the government and no security clearance, allegedly edited drafts of Park's speeches, received classified documents from the presidential office and recommended the appointments of senior government officials.

In the ruling, approved by all eight justices, the court accused Park of "thoroughly hiding" Choi's involvement in government affairs, saying she not only denied the suspicions but was also critical of them.

Park abused her power to help her friend of 40 years establish foundations and "continuously" violated the law and Constitution throughout her term, it said. The foundations were allegedly used to collect "donations" from conglomerates including Samsung Group.

By law, the RoK is required to hold an election to pick Park's successor within 60 days, and most expect it to take place on May 9.