The Constitutional Court unanimously upholds a parliamentary vote to impeach for her role in a corruption and influence-peddling scandal.
By Anna Kim
President Park Geun Hye’s destiny has come down to impeachment as the Korean Constitutional Court voted unanimously on March 10th to remove her from office.
The Court breaking down Mrs. Park’s actions delivered its highly anticipated verdict within 22 minutes.
“We see that Mrs. Park’s actions had impaired the spirit of democracy and the advocacy of the Constitution. We also have doubt in her trust restoration from the people in light of how she had not responded to prosecution investigations,” said Jung Mi Lee, Acting Chief Justice. “The negative effects of the President’s actions and the repercussion are consequential. Hereupon, the Court unanimously dismisses President Park Geun Hye from her position.”
The Court pointed out that Mrs. Park had helped her crony Choi Soon Sil to poach bribes from South Korean conglomerates including Samsung, having personally asking the large businesses for donations.
A lot of people had accused Mrs. Park of taking secret counsel from Mrs. Choi, who held no official position, and investing her with power to decide a number of complicated political conundrums including the North Korea policy.
Plenty of sources had foreseen the Court’s impeachment decision against Mrs. Park.
“There was no room for the Court to rule other than impeaching the President,” said Chang Yusun, Associate Professor in Electrical Engineering at Kennesaw State University. “I believe that the verdict has contributed to the growth and establishment of South Korea’s democracy. It was such a historic moment.”
As expected, the verdict, which made her the first democratically elected president to be removed from office in the country’s history, immediately rocked the supporters of Mrs. Park in South Korea. They vented their rage, clashing with the police and breaching cordons around the court. It was reported that three people died in skirmishes that broke out after the verdict was released and approximately 30 protesters and police officers were injured in the violent confrontation.
Although this disturbance was shifted to protect Mrs. Park’s private house in Samsung Dong, now Mrs. Park is vulnerable to criminal prosecution since she lost her presidential immunity. Prosecutors have already arrested and indicted a slew of high-profile figures over the scandal, including Mrs. Park’s confidante Mrs. Choi, Park’s top administration officials, and Samsung heir Lee Jae Yong.
However, Mrs. Park seems that she doesn’t accept the verdict from the Court. In her first public comments when she got to her home since the Court formally had removed her from office, she said in a statement, “Although it will take time, I believe the truth will certainly come out.”
Now that Mrs. Park has been ousted permanently, snap elections for a new president must be held within 60 days. The conservative and progressive factions are scrambling to get ahead in the election.
South Korean people eagerly wish that the country would get back on track from the moment of challenge with strengthened spirit.
“It is time to accept and prevent the polarization of the country,” said Sunny Kim, resident of Duluth. “Even though South Korea has been recently messed up, we, the people of an indomitable spirit, should rise in the mess again.”
Jung Mi Lee, Acting Chief Justice.
Protesters are in raging waves, gathering on the street and holding up candles.
Mrs. Park is vulnerable to criminal prosecution since she lost her presidential immunity.