Lawmakers vote 234-56 in favour of South Korea president's impeachment

Updated: 10 December, 2016 11:32 IST | Agencies |

Lawmakers vote 234-56 in favour of South Korea president's impeachment

President Park Geun-Hye speaks during an emergency cabinet meet in Seoul on Friday. Pic/AFP

Seoul: South Korean lawmakers voted overwhelmingly yesterday to impeach President Park Geun-hye in a corruption scandal, setting the stage for her to become the country's first elected leader to be pushed from office in disgrace.

MPs voted by a higher-than-expected 234 in favour and 56 opposed in the secret ballot, meaning over 60 of Park's own conservative Saenuri Party members backed the motion to remove her. The votes of least 200 members of the 300-seat chamber were needed for the motion to pass.

The Constitutional Court must decide whether to uphold the motion, a process that could take up to 180 days. Under the constitution, Park's duties will be assumed by Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn on an interim basis until the court rules.

"I accept the voice of the parliament and the people, and hope this confusion is soundly resolved," Park said at a meeting with her cabinet.
"I will be responding calmly under the procedures laid out in the constitution and the law to the impeachment review by the Constitutional Court and the investigation by the special prosecutor."

Park, who faces investigation by a special prosecutor, said this week she would wait for the Constitutional Court's ruling, resisting demands that she step down immediately.

The daughter of a military ruler who led the country for 18 years before being assassinated by his spy chief in 1979, Park would lose presidential immunity if she left office early, and could be prosecuted for abuse of power and bribery, among other charges.

People listen to a musical performance during a small rally following the impeachment of President Park Geun-Hye, in central Seoul on Friday. Pic/AFP

South Koreans celebrate with hugs and selfies

Jubilant South Koreans celebrated with cheers, hugs and selfies yesterday, after lawmakers voted to impeach embattled President Park Geun-hye over an influence-pedalling scandal that had drawn huge crowds to weekly protests, demanding she step down.

A large crowd of demonstrators gathered outside parliament in anticipation of the outcome greeted the news with cheers.
'I feel great!' said 54-year-old rice farmer Im Chae-jum. 'I thought it was going to pass but, either way, whatever happens in parliament, we'll take Park Geun-hye down with people power. The people won!'

Protesters waved banners and flags as they climbed on a tractor that some farmers had used to block a road outside parliament. Others took selfies before a large banner reading, 'Congratulations on the impeachment of Park Geun-hye; now, let's lock her up.'

Several people blew horns or held up signs that read, 'Victory for the people!'
Protesters have staged massive demonstrations in central Seoul every Saturday for the last six weeks of the political crisis that rocked Park's presidency.

Tackling North Korea's nuclear threat
South Korea will step up cooperation with allies to respond to North Korea's nuclear threat, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn said yesterday in his first speech after parliament impeached President Park Geun-hye. South Korea faced grave risks from both within and externally and could not afford to have a vacuum in government, Hwang said in a televised address.

First Published: 10 December, 2016 08:23 IST

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