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Impeachment Vote Set for Embattled South Korean President

  • VOA News

Lawmakers and members of opposition parties hold cards during a rally demanding the impeachment of South Korean President Park Geun-hye at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 7, 2016.

South Korean lawmakers have introduced a motion to impeach embattled President Park Geun-hye over a multimillion dollar corruption scandal.

The motion was introduced Thursday during a session of the 300-member parliament. Lawmakers must vote on the motion between 24 and 72 hours, meaning a formal vote will take place Friday, the last day of parliament’s regular session.

FILE - A South Korean college student holds a placard depicting South Korea's President Park Geun-hye, right bottom, as a marionette and Choi Soon-sil, who is at the center of a political scandal, as a puppeteer, in Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 3, 2016.
FILE - A South Korean college student holds a placard depicting South Korea's President Park Geun-hye, right bottom, as a marionette and Choi Soon-sil, who is at the center of a political scandal, as a puppeteer, in Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 3, 2016.

Park is under fire for her relationship to Choi Soon-sil, a longtime confidante who has been charged with attempted fraud and other charges. Prosecutors say Choi forced South Korea’s biggest corporations to donate tens of millions of dollars to two foundations she controlled.

Choi is alleged to have funneled some of the funds to her private companies and to side contracts for friends.

Park maintains she never personally benefited from these fundraising efforts and was unaware of any illegal actions taken by those around her.

“As of now, we are assured that more than 200 lawmakers will vote for impeachment and pass the impeachment motion,” said Na Kyoung-chae, Korean Justice Party leader, “but if by any chance there occurs a situation in which the impeachment motion is voted down, our citizens will not forgive the parliament, we believe.”

If the impeachment motion is approved, the country’s Constitutional Court will have six months to determine whether the president should be removed from office. She could be the first democratically elected president in South Korea’s history to be removed from office.

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