South Korean constitutional court rules President Park Geun-hye must leave office

South Korean President Park Geun-Hye was sacked by the country's top court on Friday, as it upheld her impeachment by parliament over a wide-ranging corruption scandal. The decision meant Park became the first democratically elected leader of South Korea to be stripped of office.

Acting chief justice Lee Jung-Mi said Ms Park's "acts of violating the constitution and law are a betrayal of the public trust". It has coincided with a resurgence in the North's nuclear program and an escalation in regional tensions over an advanced United States antimissile system being deployed south of Seoul.

It marks the first time a South Korean president has been ousted before the end of their term since democracy replaced dictatorship in the late 1980s.

Prime Minister and acting President Hwang Kyo-Ahn said:"To stop internal conflicts from intensifying, we should manage the social order and keep a stable government so that national anxiety and the worldwide community's concern can be settled". "The history moves forward based on the power of the great people".

In 2004, South Korea's parliament impeached another president, Roh Moo-hyun, but the Constitutional Court later reinstated him. Nostalgia for her father's conservative rule led her a sweeping electoral victory in 2012.

Some 70 percent of South Koreans in a pre-ruling poll got what they'd wished for - Park's ouster. Among the opposition's major policy proposals are its calls for more engagement with North Korea and defusing tensions with neighboring China. In the photo below, a Park supporter is pepper sprayed during clashes with police. But the corruption case is far from over.

But the judges dismissed some charges, including accusations Ms Park had infringed on freedom of the press by creating a media blacklist of cultural figures, and criticism of her response during the 2014 Sewol ferry disaster.

Why did Park lose her job? Later, Park's direct involvement in the scheme was suspected by the investigation.

"No plans have been made for her departure".

The South Korean Constitution requires for a new president to be elected within the next 60 days.

"Conflicts during demonstrations is not right", said acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn.

Even after the election, imprisoning Park could still be a burden for a new government, which must pursue national unity to overcome security, economic and other problems, said Chung Jin-young, a professor at Kyung Hee University.

According to Voice of America, the House resolution calls for the prompt deployment of the US missile defense system.

  • Lila Blake