A victory for the democracy in South Korea

South Korean President Park Geun-Hye during her visit at the France-Korean business partnership meeting in Paris, France, Thursday, June 2, 2016. South Korean President Park Geun-Hye is in France for a four-day state visit. (Christophe Petit-Tesson/Pool Photo via AP)

(Christophe Petit-Tesson/Pool Photo via AP)

South Korean lawmakers voted in December to remove Park from office over a corruption scandal. However, under the South Korean system, the Constitutional Court must confirm the decision before it can take effect. Park was accused of letting her close friend Choi Soon-sil meddle in state affairs, colluding with her to extort donations from local conglomerates for the Choi-controlled entities (the K-Sport and Mir foundations). She also addressed accusations of negligence in her handling of the Sewol ferry disaster in April 2014 that killed more than 300 passengers, mostly school children.

No South Korean president has been forced from office through impeachment. The National Assembly voted in 2004 to impeach President Roh Moo-hyun, but the Constitutional Court reinstated him, ruling that his violations of election law were too minor to justify ending his presidency. Mr. Roh did not attend the court’s hearings on his impeachment.

At the very end, she is the first democratically elected South Korean leader to be ousted from office. Impeach the president was an obvious choice: the demonstrations started on October 26th (2016) asking for the president resignation and continued through all these months. This is a huge achievement for the young Korean democracy. The candidate who will be elected next will face very deep problems about the foreign policy such as relations with North Korea, deteriorating agreements with China and the controversial situation with Japan. In addition to all these issues, the future president must be focus on the problems inside the country too. However, what happened this morning will remain in the annals of Korean history as an important step for democracy of the country.

Alessandra Bonanomi – The AsiaN

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