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Published: Sat, December 10, 2016
Tech | By Dwayne Harmon

Lawmakers: South Korean leader to accept impeachment outcome


Reporting for The Washington Post, Anna Fifield writes that every president in South Korea's history as a democracy has been caught up in some kind of bribery or corruption scandal.

South Korea is a regional lynchpin and stalwart U.S. ally, and the outcome of a general election, should the court rule that Park step down, could have security and economic implications in Asia and beyond.

Parliament introduced the impeachment bill on Thursday and it must be voted on within 24 to 72 hours.

Michael Kim, the professor, says Choi is symbolic of a political system that can easily be gamed.

Hwang also urged ruling and opposition parties to cooperate to bring back stability.

The country's Constitutional Court will now deliberate the impeachment motion, a process that could take up to 180 days. But the impeachment led to a big public backlash, and the Constitutional Court reinstated Roh two months later.

The dramatic moment came at the beginning of a hearing Wednesday that's the latest step in what appears to be the final days in power for President Park Geun-hye.

The suspension of Park's power was made Friday when her office received a copy of the impeachment motion hand-delivered by National Assembly officials.

"We look forward to working with Prime Minister Hwang in his new capacity as acting president", she said. "I sincerely apologize to the people for causing such widespread chaos while our national security situation and the economy are going through a hard time", she said, citing everything from bird flu to the challenge the cold winter would pose to the poor.

The Constitutional Court's nine members need to return a two-thirds majority to oust Park.

October 25: Park publicly acknowledges her close ties with Choi, and says Choi helped her on speeches and public relations issues during her 2012 presidential campaign and after her 2013 inauguration.

"While retaining a watertight national defense posture, the government will work closely with the worldwide community to thoroughly respond to the North Korean nuclear problem", Hwang said.

Earlier Friday, South Korea's defense minister ordered heightened military readiness to brace for any possible provocation by North Korea, although no suspicious activities have been observed.

The political uncertainty that followed the eruption of Park's influence-peddling scandal in October had already caused economists to cut their forecasts for the nation's growth next year.

Park's ties with Choi Tae-min, who has faced a series of corruption scandals, have long dogged her political career.

She says she would prepare for a court review of the impeachment.

Her parentage has always sat uncomfortably with younger voters, many put off by the idea of a dictator's daughter governing democratic South Korea.

Choi is specifically accused of meddling in state affairs and using her Blue House connections to force dozens of conglomerates to donate tens of millions of dollars to two dubious foundations she controlled.

How loyal is Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn?

"You saw the public's anger in the candlelights", said Park Jie-win, another opposition leader, referring to the massive anti-Park vigils in recent weeks.

One ramen restaurant owner was selling beer and ramen for 2,340 won, or about $2, because of the 234 lawmakers who voted in favor of impeachment.

If the president couldn't dress herself or compose speeches without this mysterious woman's help, the critics argued, let alone decide how to handle nuclear-armed North Korea, how could she be trusted? The banners read "All hotel rooms are free" and "Park Geun-hye to step down".

Park's office says the meeting is set for 5 p.m.at the presidential Blue House. The fates of Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho, who was also cast aside as Park sought to stem the fallout from the scandal, and Yim Jong-yong, who was named Yoo's replacement, remain unclear. The votes of at least 200 members of the 300-seat chamber were needed for the motion to pass.

A protester reacts after the South Korean parliament voted to impeachPresident Park Geun-Hye, as crowds gathered outside the National Assembly in Seoul.

As they voted hundreds of protesters massed in front of the National Assembly building.

December 3: Opposition lawmakers formally launch an attempt to impeach Park, setting up a floor vote as early as Friday.

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