South Korea removes president after corruption scandal

South Korea removes president after corruption scandal

Impeached President Park Geun-hye of South Korea was permanently removed from office on Friday as the constitutional court upheld the impeachment motion. "As the influence-peddling scandal has had limited impact on the stock market so far, the decision to uphold Park's impeachment did not lead to a surprise surge of Kospi", said Kim Yong-gu, an analyst at Hana Financial Investment. In what is being called "the trial of the century", the heir to the Samsung empire went on trial Thursday alleged to have made payments of up to $38 million to Park and her adviser Choi Soon-sil.

It also opens her up to criminal proceedings.

South Korea's President Park Geun-hye has become the country's first democratically elected leader to be forced out of office - and people are pretty pleased.

"She would take a private vehicle to commute", said resident Lee Bum-yong, stepping out of a neighbourhood convenience store, who said he had seen Park several times before she became president. "The benefits of protecting the constitution that can be earned by dismissing the defendant are overwhelmingly big".

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While awaiting the decision by the Constitutional Court, Park continued to live in the presidential Blue House.

South Korea must hold an election within two months to choose Ms Park's successor. Liberal Moon Jae-in, who lost to Park in the 2012 election, now enjoys a comfortable lead in opinion polls.

With Park's ruling conservatives looking out of favor, it seems likely the country will turn to the left-wing opposition, which has signaled it would be likely to pursue a policy of engagement with North Korea, as opposed to the more hard line position offered by Park and her conservative allies.

When impeached president Park Geun-hye leaves South Korea's presidential palace she will go back to her house in Seoul's luxury Gangnam district surrounded by a high wall and bamboo.

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South Koreans are used to corruption scandals exposing the failings of their leaders and the extraordinary economic and political power of the chaebols, the huge family-run conglomerates such as Samsung. They referred to her impeachment as a "political assassination" an vowed to resist the decision.

A South Korean hospital said he had suffered head injuries after falling from a police bus outside the courthouse.

But Park has avoided a direct investigation thanks to a law that gives a sitting president immunity from prosecution for most of alleged crimes. China has curbed travel to South Korea and targeted Korean companies in the mainland, prompting retaliatory measures from Seoul. The country's prime minister - a Park appointee - will continue to serve as acting president.

Carrying signs and candles, the crowd cheered to speeches and swayed to music Friday night, while angry supporters of Park continued to scuffle with police in streets near the court.

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