Two dead as ousting of South Korea's disgraced president Park Geun-hye sparks clashes
Friday 10/March/2017 - 09:10 AM
South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye has become the country’s first democratically elected leader to be forced from office after judges voted unanimously to impeach her، The Telegraph reported.
The historic ruling triggered violent protests in the streets، with two people dying in clashes between demonstrators and police.
Friday’s ruling from the highest court in the land follows an earlier impeachment decision by the parliament، and months of mass public protests over her role in a corruption scandal involving close confidante، Choi Soon-sil.
Her dismissal thrusts the country into a rushed 60 day election campaign، leaving Seoul with a leadership vacuum at a time of heightened regional tension over missile tests by volatile neighbouring North Korea.
The personal costs of Park’s fall from grace may also be high. She now loses her presidential immunity and can be prosecuted for her alleged collusion with Choi، who has been charged with bribery and corruption for reportedly pressuring big companies to give money in return for political favours.
Park has been accused of taking secret advice from Choi، who had no official position، on everything from North Korea policy to her wardrobe choices.
Prosecutors have recommended a total of 13 charges against the former president، including abuse of power، coercion of donations and the sharing of state secrets.
Both women deny wrongdoing، but calls for Park’s impeachment have been central to protests by millions over South Koreans in the past few months against a perceived nexus of corruption between the government and big business.
The sheer scale of the scandal، which implicates not only the country’s leadership، but huge companies including Samsung، has shaken South Korean society to the core.
Reading the court’s verdict shortly after 11am، Chief Justice Lee Jung-Mi said the president’s actions had “betrayed the people’s confidence. They are a grave violation of law، which cannot be tolerated،” he said.