South Korean President Impeached

Erik Hultgren, News Reporter

February 25, 2013, Park Geun-hye was sworn in as the first female president of South Korea. Park was the leader of South Korea’s conservative party, and in 2013 and 2014 was ranked 11 on Forbes list of the world’s 100 most powerful women. At the time many saw this as the beginning of an era of new hope; but just over four years later that hope has come to an end. For the last year, Geun-hye has been embroiled in legal battles regarding her alleged corruption and cronyism. These battles, despite Geun-hye claiming that she did nothing wrong, culminated in Korean parliament voting for Geun-hye’s impeachment on December 9, 2016. From then on her presidential powers and duties were suspended, and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn acted as president while her impeachment was reviewed by the constitutional court. On March 10, 2017 the court finally upheld Geun-hye’s impeachment, and she was officially stripped of her presidency one year before the end of her five year term. This means that Korea has a mere sixty days to elect a new president, and many speculate that after a decade of conservative rule that South Korea will elect to put a more liberal president in office. Over the course of the scandal, which first came to light in October 2016, there have been hundreds of protests in Seoul, and after Geun-hye’s impeachment became official the demonstrations reached a tipping point with police clashing with protesters.

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