South Korea Impeachment Protest Death Toll Rises to 3

South Korea removes president from office
South Korea Impeachment Protest Death Toll Rises to 3

12 March, 2017

South Korea's president was kicked out of office Friday after the country's Constitutional Court upheld her impeachment-and while much of the country is celebrating, loyal supporters are furious.

Surveys before the latest ruling showed that 70 to 80 per cent of South Koreans wanted the court to approve Park's impeachment.

Charges against the disgraced president also include neglect of duty in the government's rescue efforts during the 2014 Sewol ferry sinking which left more than 300 dead or missing. Then, she went on to lay out each of the charges against Park Geun-hye.

Park committed a "grave" violation of the law through leaking classified documents to her friend Choi Soon-sil, acting court president Lee Jung-mi said in her ruling.

A liberal candidate, Moon Jae-in, is leading in opinion polls to succeed Park, with 32 per cent in one released on Friday.

25 Feb, 2013: Ms Park is sworn in as the first female president of South Korea.

The ruling marks a dramatic fall from power for the daughter of Cold War military dictator Park Chung-hee.

Choi is now in custody for meddling in state affairs behind the scenes and peddling undue influence for personal gains.

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Nov 4, 2016: Park makes her second televised apology, saying she would take responsibility if found guilty.

Nov 29, 2016: In her third televised apology, Park asks parliament to decide how and when she could give up power over the scandal.

In 2004, the National Assembly voted to impeach then President Roh Moo Hyun for alleged breach of political neutrality expected of the president by way of the Constitution, but the Constitutional Court overturned the result, and he resumed his role as president.

South Korean religious leaders and lawmakers made appeals Thursday for the country to avoid the "catastrophe" of unrest that could follow Friday's impeachment verdict by the Constitutional Court.

"Conflicts during demonstrations is not right", said acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn.

Park Geun-hye has also been accused of soliciting bribes from the head of the Samsung Group for government favors, including backing a merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015 that was seen as supporting family succession and control over the country's largest chaebol, or family-run conglomerate. He and Samsung have denied wrongdoing.

Choi, Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong and other top officials have been arrested over the allegations.

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