South Korea’s Constitutional Court upheld the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye on Friday, removing her from office over a graft scandal involving big business that has gripped the country for months.
Park, 65, has been accused of colluding with a friend, Choi Soon-sil, and a former aide to pressure big businesses to donate to foundations set up to back her policy initiatives.
She is also accused of soliciting bribes from the head of the Samsung Group for government favours including the backing of a merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015 that was seen to support the succession of control over the country’s largest “chaebol” conglomerate.
The impeachment comes at a time when its rival North Korea is pushing ahead with its missile programme. US has already deployed a missile-defence system in South Korea to counter Kim Jong Un.
With this Park becomes South Korea’s first democratically elected leader to be forced from office. A presidential election will be held in 60 days, according to the constitution.
Her powers were stripped of on Dec. 9 trust vote but she has remained in the president’s official compound.