A look at key criminal defendants in South Korean scandal

12 March, 2017, 00:07 | Author: Ora Austin
  • A supporter of impeached South Korean President Park Geun-hye waves flags of the US and South Korea during a rally

South Korea's Constitution Court ruled to uphold the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye on Friday morning, making her the first democratically elected president to be removed from office in the country's history.

Pictured, the police clash with protesters and spray them to keep the crowds at bay.

A change of power in South Korea this May may offer more "diplomatic transparency" for the next South Korean government, no matter who gets elected, another expert said.

Around 90 per cent of liberal and moderate voters favoured Park's impeachment, while the conservative voters were divided by half towards whether to oust the president or reinstate her.

Hwang called for calm on Friday and promised that a snap presidential election, which has to be held within 60 days, would be smooth.

Ms Choi is accused of using her presidential connections to pressure some of South Korea's biggest companies into giving millions of dollars in donations to two non-profit foundations she controlled.

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

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The president's "acts of violating the constitution and law are a betrayal of the public trust", Acting Chief Justice Lee Jung-mi said. Twitter user imozart7 echoed many others: "The dismissed Park Geun Hye is staying on at the Blue House without expressing her stance". Worse for her, losing the office potentially opens her up to criminal prosecution.

The court ruling marked a dramatic fall from grace of South Korea's first woman president and daughter of Cold War military dictator Park Chung-hee.

South Korea has been plunged into a period of political uncertainty after the President, Park Geun-hye, was forced out of office by a corruption scandal. Anti-Park protesters celebrated by marching in the streets near the presidential Blue House, carrying flags, signs and an effigy of Park dressed in prison clothes and tied up with rope.

"It was thought in one stage that the ruling would mean she would have to leave immediately but that doesn't seem to be the case".

She has lived an isolated life ever since, even as president.

In a unanimous decision, the Constitutional Court on Friday upheld a parliamentary vote to impeach her over an influence-peddling scandal. But they have recently regrouped and staged fierce pro-Park rallies.


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