Seoul, March 10: Upholding the decision of South Korea’s National Assembly, its Constitutional Court passed the motion on Thursday to impeach President Park Geun-Hye over alleged corruption charges.
Park becomes S. Korea’s first democratically elected leader to be impeached, capping months of turmoil. Her removal comes amidst rising tension with N. Korea and China, and the corruption scandal that has landed Samsung chief in jail.
After the verdict, hundreds of Park's supporters tried to break through police barricades outside the court. The protest resulted in the death of two, according to sources. One elderly man was taken to hospital with a head injury and the circumstances of the second death were being investigated.
The court's acting chief judge, Lee Jung-mi said that “Park had violated the constitution and law ‘throughout her term’, and despite the objections of parliament and the press, she had concealed the truth and cracked down on critics.”
"The removal of the claimant from office is overwhelming to the benefit of the protection of the constitution. We remove President Park Geun-hye from office," Lee told the hearing.
Park has however denied any kind of wrongdoing from her side.
The ruling to uphold parliament's Dec. 9 vote to impeach her over the scandal marks a dramatic fall from grace of South Korea's first woman president and daughter of Cold War military dictator Park Chung-hee. Both of her parents were assassinated.
Park, 65, no longer has the immunity as a President, and could now face criminal charges over bribery, extortion and abuse of power in connection with allegations of conspiring with her friend, Choi Soon-sil.
The Presidential elections will take place in 60 days.