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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2400

South Korea court removes President Park from office

Seoul, 10 March, (Asiantribune.com):

South Korea's Constitutional Court upheld the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye removing her from office over a graft scandal involving big business that has gripped the country for months.

Park becomes South Korea's first democratically elected leader to be forced out from office.

A presidential election will be held in 60 days, according to the constitution.

"We remove Park Geun-hye from office," Lee Jung-mi, acting president of the court, told the hearing. "Her actions betrayed the people's confidence. They are a grave violation of law which cannot be tolerated."

The ruling to uphold parliament's Dec. 9 vote to impeach Park over an influence-peddling scandal is the most dramatic twist in a political crisis that has gripped the country for months.

Park, 65, was 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 was also accused of soliciting bribes from the head of the Samsung Group for government favors, including backing a merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015 that was seen as supporting the succession of control over the country's largest "chaebol" conglomerate.

Park has denied any wrongdoing.

Hundreds of demonstrators, both for and against Park, have gathered at the courthouse, which was blockaded by police buses.

Park was stripped of her powers after parliament voted to impeach her but has remained in the president's official compound, the Blue House.

She did not appear in court on Friday.

Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn was appointed acting president and will remain in that post until the election.

The scandal has led to weekly protests by tens of thousands of people, not only those who want Park to step down but also her supporters calling for her to stay on in power.

- Asian Tribune -

South President Park Geun-hye
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