South Korean National Assembly, voted by a margin of 5-1 to impeach president Park guen-hye, Friday. Almost certain to end her scandal ridden term
The South Korean National Assembly, Friday voted 234-56 to impeach president Park guen-hye. The ouster came in the wake of six weeks of street protests and an approval rating that plunged by some accounts, as low as four to ten percent.
The National Assembly vote, more than likely signaled the end of a very unpopular presidency tainted by a corruption scandal the types, the nation feels it had outgrown in the past couple of decades.
The intra-party disdain for the President Park, who campaigned on an anti-corruption platform was such that, though impeachment vote required at least 28 legislators of Park’s majority Saenuri Party to cross the aisle to make up the two-thirds majority vote required in the 300-seat legislature – the final vote was 234 to 56 in favor of impeachment.
“President Park Geun-hye has not only forgotten her duty as the nation‘s leader and administrative chief but also violated the constitution and other laws concerning her public duties,” said opposition lawmaker Kim Kwan-young while presenting the impeachment bill.
New South Korean Prime Minister Kim Byong-joon, was nominated by President Park, just a few days ago
President Park is suspended from office with immediate effect, although the impeachment vote needs to be ratified by the Constitutional Court within 180 days to become permanent, else the process will be voided.
Days-old Prime Minister, Kim Byong-joon takes over Park’s responsibilities in the interim, though Park had already offered to resign if lawmakers voted against her. If she does, new elections must be held within 60 days. Crowds of banner-waving protesters greeted the verdict with cheers outside the chamber.
South Korea has been plunged into a political scandal that has engulfed the presidency of Park Geun-hye and has seen thousands of protesters take to the streets.
The crises for the Park administration centers around her friend and unofficial ‘adviser’, Choi Soon-sil detained, Monday, on charges of abuse of power and attempted fraud following accusations she had unauthorized access to secret government documents,intervened in state affairs what is more use the illegally obtained information to extort some of the largest corporation in the nation. It is estimated that the cult leader amassed personal wealth of over $70 million through her illicit activities.
Choi Soon-sil, (left), a cult leader’s daughter with a decades-long connection to President Park Geun-hye, arrested, at the Prosecutors’ Office in Seoul, South Korea, Monday
Park is the 64-year-old daughter of former South Korean military dictator Park Chung-hee, who is credited with spearheading the East Asian nation’s rapid economic growth of the 1970s and ’80s. She is accused of sharing classified documents with her longtime confidante, Choi Soon-sil.
Choi Soon-sil, 60, on Monday told reporters that she “deserves death,” the woman at the center of a scandal roiling South Korea met prosecutors examining whether she used her close ties to President Park Geun-hye to pull government strings from the shadows and amass an illicit fortune.
Cult leader Choi Soon-sil, told reporters that she “deserves death, after she was charged of illegal wealth acquisition
“Please, forgive me,” Choi Soon-sil, a cult leader’s daughter with a decades-long connection to Park, said through tears inside the Seoul prosecutor’s building. Using a common expression of deep repentance, she added, “I committed a sin that deserves death.”
Choi was almost mobbed and nearly knocked off her feet several times as she tried to walk through a large crowd of media, protesters and security at the public prosecutors office in Seoul on Monday. One protester reportedly tried to enter the building with a bucket full of animal droppings with other protesters screamed, “Arrest Choi Soon-sil” and “Park Geun-hye should resign.”
As the scandal exploded last week when, after weeks of speculation, Park acknowledged the less than savory role that Choi had played in government affairs.
Choi, the daughter of the much despised like cult leader who grew close to Park and her late father, has been charged with using her influence over Park to wrest almost $70 million from some of nation’s biggest companies, including industrial giants LG, Hyundai and Samsung.
Assassinated South Korean military dictator Park Chung-hee, is the father of impeached president Park Guen-hye
The parallels in family histories of the two principal actors in this political saga is as striking as it added fuel tto the political eruptions. President Park is the daughter of Park Chung-hee, the military dictator, credited with creating modern South Korea in the 1960s and ’70s. During his presidency, Choi Tae-min, a controversial cult leader, became a spiritual adviser to the Park family–and to the President’s daughter in particular. Choi Soon-sil is the daughter of cult leader Choi.
Park Chung-hee was assassinated in 1979, and some have claimed that the killing was inspired by fear of Choi Tae-min’s incredible influence on him.
Protesters demand the arrest of cult leader Choi and the resignation of President Park
South Korean media depict Choi (background in white) as the force behind President Park (foreground)
Crowds between 500,000 to 1.5 million have thronged central Seoul in recent weeks to demand Park’s ouster. Protesters see the corruption scandal as symptomatic of wider problems in South Korean society, including soaring income inequality, ingrained sexism and a lack of social mobility.
Park has yet to resign or formally comment on her impeachment and has not been seen in public since Tuesday, instead ensconcing herself in the presidential Blue House despite the roiling demonstrations less than a mile away. “She really has been very tone-deaf to what the people want,” says Professor Sean O’Malley, a political scientist at South Korea’s Dongseo University.
As President, Park is constitutionally protected from prosecution other than for insurrection or treason, though prosecutors say she had a “considerable” role in Choi’s alleged transgressions. There are widespread calls for criminal charges against Park once she leaves office. Park has apologized for the scandal three times but insists nothing she did was for personal gain.
Ousted: President Park delivered an apology to the nation, just a few days earlier
“My heart is crushed when I think I cannot resolve the deep disappointment and anger of the people even if I apologize 100 times,” she said in one tearful televised statement.
South Korea now faces a damaging period of political limbo.