S Korea's parliament sets up presidential impeachment vote

South Korea's opposition-co.

South Korean legislators have started an impeachment vote on President Park Geun-hye. She also tried to remove Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, but Parliament opposed the move ― Hwang will now become acting president following the impeachment.

South Korean lawmakers on Friday began a historic vote on a bill to impeach embattled President Park Geun-hye for a corruption scandal involving her longtime confidante.

The fate of President Park Geun-hye, brought low by a humiliating corruption and abuse of power scandal, will be decided this afternoon as the National Assembly votes on a presidential impeachment motion.

Park Geun-hye served as the country's first lady at the age of 22, after her mother was murdered by a DPRK gunman on August 15th, 1974. No suspicious movements by the North were reported, however.

But the conservative make-up of the Constitutional Court would appear to be in Park's favour.

If her impeachment is upheld by the Court, a process that could take several months, Park would lose her constitutional immunity and be liable for prosecution herself in relation to the influence peddling charges. Most politicians left the hall quietly, though some could be seen taking selfies as they waited to vote.

The survey by Gallup Korea - which is not affiliated with USA -based Gallup, Inc. - also showed 81 percent of respondents supported impeachment. In 2004, the court took about two months to review and overturn the impeachment of then-President Roh Moo-hyun. There were scuffles between angry anti-Park farmers, some of whom had driven tractors to the parliament from their farms, and police.

The opposition-backed motion, which requires at least 200 of the 300 members of the single-chamber assembly to impeach Park, is expected to be approved. While Park said she regretted hearing young people label their nation "hell" for economic hardships, Lee has roused crowds at rallies, calling for a "revolutionary change" to overhaul the economy. "Let's make it so we can stand honorably in front of history and our descendants".

Park's office says she accepted the resignation by Choi Jai-kyeong, presidential secretary for civil affairs, and named lawyer Cho Dae-hwan to replace him. Many here criticize her for maintaining ties with the Choi family and lacking transparency on key decisions.

Park has repeatedly apologized over the public anger caused by the latest scandal, but has denied any legal wrongdoings. Earlier this week, leaders of the ruling party said that they would encourage their members to vote their conscience in the secret ballot.

September 20: Newspaper Hankyoreh reports that Choi Soon-sil, Park's friend and the daughter of Park's late longtime mentor, was involved in establishing and running K-Sports. Park is accused of colluding with a friend and a former aide to pressure big business owners to pay into two foundations set up to back policy initiatives.

The revelation set off a cascade of other accusations, including allegations that Choi was rewriting policy speeches and even telling Park what to wear.

Park has faced bad approval ratings and massive protests since it emerged that her confidante and adviser, Choi Soon-sil, had access to confidential government documents despite holding no official government position.



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