South Korea’s Constitutional Court decided on Friday to remove President Park Geun-hye (65) from office. The Court actually upheld a decision taken by the National Assembly and impeached the president because of a corruption scandal. All eight judges on the court voted for the president’s removal. She is the first female president of South Korea. This was a historical decision which never happened before in the country, apart from one occasion. In 2004, the same thing happened to the late President Roh Moo-hyun. However, the Court later restored him to power. Judge Lee Jung-mi made the decision public through a live-broadcast, on Friday. The impeachment caused many people to go on streets and express their feelings. Some protested against the decision while others were glad that it finally happened.
The first president to be removed from office
The fact that, with this decision, South Korea’s political stability has become weaker, might mean trouble up ahead, especially in the country’s relationship with North Korea. The nation is also a very important trading partner with the United States. Now, after the president has been thrown out, an election must follow within 60 days. South Korea’s Prime Minister and acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn will be the ones to organize it all.
Even if judge Lee Jung-mi stated that president Park violated the constitution, she always denied any wrongdoing. This unpreceded decision will strongly affect president Park’s discreet nature. She is the daughter of military dictator Park Chung-hee, who acted during the Cold War. Actually, both of her parents were assassinated. Now, that she is no longer president of South Korea and lost her immunity, she will be able to face the criminal charges involving accusations of bribery, abuse of power and the allegations that she conspired with a friend, Choi Soon-sil. An official North Korean news agency stated that the authorities are going to treat former president Park like a ”common criminal”.
Protests erupt and two people die
While judge Lee Jung-mi was making the official announcement, many anti-Park protesters began crying of joy and applauding. This happened as thousands of Park supporters were waving the country’s national flag while police officers in armor were shielding them from the others. Some of the president’s supporters even tried to enter the Constitutional Court building. Unfortunately, some of them suffered injuries and received medical care. They tried to climb the buses which were nearby in order to reach the Court. According to the police, two of those people died from the injuries.
Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn instructed the military forces to be on high alert. According to them, more protests will follow. In Seoul, the police issued the highest level of emergency. Meanwhile, in the United States, acting State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that this would not change the relationship between the two nations at all. He stated that the United States will continue to collaborate with prime minister Hwang in order to make sure that the nations are going to have a productive relationship. Moreover, he said that the alliance with South Korea is one of the most important and that everybody wishes for it to remain like this.
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