Published: Sun, March 12, 2017
Science | By Kerry Wheeler

South Korea's president, Park Geun-hye, has been removed from office

South Korea's president, Park Geun-hye, has been removed from office

The Constitutional Court of South Korea on Friday upheld the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye over her involvement in a high-profile graft scandal that led to the country being gripped with protests.

Park Geun-Hye attends the emergency cabinet meeting at the presidential office on December 9, 2016 in Seoul, South Korea.

Ms Choi is also in detention, after being accused of using her close ties with Ms Park to force firms to "donate" nearly $70m to her non-profit organisations, which she allegedly used for personal gain.

Ms Choi is accused of using her presidential connections to pressure companies to give millions of dollars in donations to non-profit foundations she controlled.

Park Geun-hye has been embroiled in scandal since October a year ago, when it was alleged that she had allowed a close friend to have extensive influence on government policy.

As for former President Park, 69.4 percent of the respondents called for a custody investigation, expressing complaints over her repeated sidestepping of questioning by investigators over the past months.

Parliament voted to impeach Ms Park in December and the Constitutional Court has since been deciding whether to uphold or overturn this.

Reading the decision, acting Chief Justice Lee Jung-mi said: "The negative effects of the president's actions and their repercussions are grave, and the benefits to defending the Constitution by removing her from office are overwhelmingly large".

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She has so far remained in the official presidential compound, the Blue House, but a spokesman says she will soon leave for her private home.

Liberal candidate, Moon Jae-in, is leading the opinion polls.

It also marks the first time a South Korean president has been ousted before the end of their term since democracy replaced dictatorship in the late 1980s.

Park was born in 1952 as the first child of Park Chung-hee. Additionally, Park was accused of allowing Choi an undue influence in state affairs.

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

The opposition has been gathering for weeks calling for her ouster and now demands she now face criminal charges and arrest.

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. All have denied wrongdoing.

The project was spearheaded by Cha Eun-taek, an associate of Choi who has since been indicted for various charges, and CJ Group's Lee was pardoned in August soon after he dropped the appeal case on embezzlement charges.

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