S. Korea court to rule on President Park impeachment Friday

Miranda GreerMar 10, 2017

Approximately 8,400 policemen have been mobilized in the South Korean capital of Seoul in order to tighten security in anticipation of the Constitutional Court's ruling on the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye due on Friday, media reported Thursday. The ruling will be broadcast live on television.

Hwang, who is serving as acting president following Park's impeachment on Dec 9, emerged recently as the best hope among conservative voters because there is no outstanding rival coming from the conservative camp. In a written submission to the court on February 27, she said, "I have never been involved in corruption or graft during my political journey".

"This is the biggest political shock we've experienced since 1987", said Kang Won-taek, a professor of political science at Seoul National University, referring to the huge uprising that brought democracy to South Korea.

She has publicly denied charges of wrongdoing and said the accusations against her were fabricated. Questions remain over whether she will be formally charged with bribery and abuse of power, among others, after losing immunity from indictment. Such a decision will likely take the air out of the investigation into the scandal.

Huge but peaceful demonstrations against Park - topping a million protesters, according to organizers - helped bring the issue to a head at the end of past year.

So, whatever the outcome on Friday, there will be a large group of unhappy Koreans taking to the streets to protest the decision.

The motion to impeach President Park was passed on December 9 through the National Assembly by an overwhelming support.

Serious breach of any one is sufficient to confirm impeachment, but six votes - a two-thirds majority of the full bench - are needed, even though only eight justices are sitting.

The Constitutional Court has been racing against the clock to make its decision.

According to parliament, Park's friend and secret confidante of 40 years' standing, Choi Soon-Sil, was granted unlawful access to state secrets, actively intervened in state affairs, fiddled with presidential speeches, recommended candidates for key official posts and meddled in government policies.

Previous South Korean presidents have been embroiled in corruption scandals, usually involving their family members.

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