South Korean President Park Geun-hye Removed From Office


The South Korean government is making its best efforts to stably manage state affairs after the ouster of President Park Geun-hye, the government spokesman said in a letter addressed to foreign correspondents in Korea and over 400 journalists who have visited the country.

With the court's ruling, Park becomes the first South Korean president to be impeached from office.

The former president and her close friend, Choi Soon-sil, have been accused of conspiring to pressure companies to donate large amounts of money to Ms Choi's non-profit organisations. As Park is no longer president, she is vulnerable to prosecution for bribery, extortion, and abuse of power. Both women denied wrongdoing. Those allegations were previously made by prosecutors, but Ms Park has refused to undergo any questioning, citing a law that gives a sitting leader immunity from prosecution.

The unanimous decision brought months of political turmoil to a climax and triggers a new presidential election, to be held within 60 days. Check back for updates. Two people were killed in protests with riot police, while a third elderly man had a heart attack and died on Saturday.

Relations with China and the United States could dominate the presidential campaign, after South Korea this month began deployment of the U.S. THAAD missile defence system in response to North Korea's stepped up missile and nuclear tests.

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Protesters shout slogans during a rally calling for impeached President Park Geun-hye's arrest in Seoul, South Korea, March 10, 2017.

Ms Park is alleged to have been personally involved in this, and to have given Ms Choi unacceptable levels of access to official documents.

Conservative supporters of the ousted president have intensified counter-rallies, however, and almost 22,000 police officers were deployed Friday to guard government institutions. including the Constitutional Court and the presidential office.

It is understood she will not leave until her own home in Seoul is repaired and cleaned.

Parliament voted to impeach Ms Park in December and the Constitutional Court has since been deciding whether to uphold or overturn this.

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The scandal has also swept up South Korea's biggest chaebol Samsung.

The decision led crowds to break out in elation (among anti-Park camps) and emotion (among Park supporters).

Prosecutors have already identified Park as a criminal suspect.

The New York Times describes the removal of Park as part of the backlash against the old order once represented by her father, who ruled as a dictator from 1961 until his assassination in1979.

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