▲ The official announcement of President Park’s impeachment. Provided by SBS News.
The impeachment bill against President Park Geun-hye was unanimously passed at 11:00 A.M. on March 10, marking a watershed moment in Korean politics. Chief Justice Lee Jeong-mi of the Constitutional Court stated President Park’s “veritable unwillingness to protect the Constitution and blatant transgression against the Constitution” as the main reason for deciding to pass the impeachment bill. While the allegations that President Park encroached upon the freedom of press, was responsible for the loss of lives during the Sewol Ferry incident and was culpable of the manipulation of civil servants were shot down, her coercion of corporations such as Hyundai and Samsung to fund Choi Soon-sil’s private foundations was accepted as a valid rationale for impeachment.
Along with the Constitutional Court’s courageous judgment in the face of overwhelming opposition, the impeachment was made possible by the valiant efforts of the special prosecution, which was in charge of making the case against President Park. Despite the short amount of time, specifically 90 days, the special prosecution was given to compile enough evidence to oust President Park, their surprisingly momentous success led to the prosecution of several high-ranking officials and the elimination of much corruption in the political scene.
In the aftermath of the impeachment, the Liberty Korea Party, formerly the Saenuri Party, has agreed to submit to the Constitutional Court’s ruling, as did President Parks’ previous representatives. Meanwhile, the supporters of the national flag assemblies, who spoke against the impeachment, are challenging the ruling. Seo Suk-gu, who notably advocated overturning the impeachment bill, plans on applying for a retrial. Nevertheless, with the impeachment bill passed, President Park is now divested of all presidential authority and power. The next presidential election is set to commence during May.