South Korea lawmakers vote to impeach President Park Geun-hye News
South Korea lawmakers vote to impeach President Park Geun-hye

South Korean lawmakers on Friday voted to impeach President Park Guen-hye. The final vote count [Reuters report] was 234 to 56, well beyond the two-thirds majority needed for the impeachment motion to pass. More than 60 members from Park’s conservative party crossed the aisle to vote with the opposition pushing for the impeachment. Park is accused of sharing confidential information and extorting millions of dollars from large corporations with a personal friend [NYT report], the daughter of a religious sect leader. Park’s powers are temporarily suspended while the Constitutional Court considers whether to remove her permanently from her position. Park said she would await the court’s decision with a “calm and clear mind.” During an meeting [WSJ report] with cabinet members she apologized for causing “national confusion because of my lack of virtue and carelessness.” Should the Constitutional Court uphold the impeachment, a process that could take up 180 days, an election for a new president will follow within two months. Park’s duties will be assumed by Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn until the court reaches its decision.

Earlier this month South Korea’s three opposition parties introduced the joint impeachment motion [JURIST report] against embattled president Park. In October Park proposed [JURIST report] to amend the country’s constitutional provision that limits presidents to one term in office. Currently, South Korean presidents can only have a single five-year term, and should the Constitutional Court decide against impeachment Park will finish her term in office in February 2018. In Kyung-joon, a senior prosecutor in South Korea was indicted [JURIST report] in July on charges of bribery by accepting more than USD $11 million from an executive at the online-game company Nexon during collusive stock transactions over a nine-year period.