Seoul court ruling on Park’s impeachment on Friday

Seoul, March 8 (IANS) South Korea’s constitutional court on Wednesday said it will make a final ruling on President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment later this week.

The ruling on whether to permanently remove Park from office or reinstate her will be made at 11 a.m. on Friday, Yonhap news agency quoted court spokesman Bae Bo-yoon as saying on Wednesday.

The motion to impeach Park was passed on December 9 through the National Assembly by an overwhelming support.

If six out of the eight justices uphold the motion, Park will be forced out of office. If more than three judges reject the bill, Park will be reinstated immediately.

The ruling date was set for Friday as the acting chief justice is scheduled to retire next Monday. Former chief judge retired on January 31.

A presidential election must be held in 60 days if the impeachment is upheld.

Park would then be subject to indictment and detention as she loses the immunities as head of state.

Special prosecutors, who had investigated the corruption scandal embroiling Park for 70 days, identified the impeached President as an accomplice to her longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil for multiple charges, including bribery.

Choi is now in custody for meddling in state affairs behind the scenes and peddling undue influence for personal gains.

She was also accused of neglecting her duty to protect citizens’ lives during a 2014 ferry sinking that killed more than 300.

The scandal has prompted millions of South Koreans to take to the streets to demand her ouster or reinstatement.

It also led to the indictment of 30 people suspected of involvement in the crimes, including Samsung’s de facto leader Lee Jae-yong.

Park is the second South Korean president to be impeached.

In 2004, then President Roh Moo-hyun was impeached on charges including of illegal electioneering, but he was reinstated by the court two months later.