We are Just Hours Away from President Park's Impeachment Verdict
SEOUL, March 10 (Yonhap) -- The Constitutional Court was set to rule Friday on whether to oust or reinstate President Park Geun-hye following her impeachment over a corruption scandal.
The historic ruling will be announced in the main courtroom at 11 a.m. and televised live nationwide, ending a 92-day leadership crisis triggered by the Dec. 9 parliamentary impeachment.'
If the court upholds the impeachment, Park will be permanently removed from office and a presidential election to pick her successor will be held within 60 days, which according to most estimates will be May 9.
If the court rejects the impeachment, Park will be immediately reinstated and allowed to serve out her term through February.
Which way the court will rule remained a mystery as details of the deliberations were kept under wraps. Polls, however, continued to show that some 70 percent of the public were in favor of the president's ouster.
Park was impeached by the National Assembly for allegedly letting her friend Choi Soon-sil meddle in state affairs and colluding with her to extort millions of dollars from local conglomerates, including Samsung Group. She was also accused of neglecting her duties during a 2014 ferry sinking that killed more than 300.
At least six justices must uphold the impeachment to unseat Park. There are currently eight after Chief Justice Park Han-chul completed his term and retired in January.
Police officers and police buses were deployed to the scene to prevent a possible riot among the president's supporters and detractors.
The presidential scandal broke in late October, pushing millions of people into the streets to hold rival rallies for and against the impeachment every week.
Friday's ruling will determine whether the president can be forced to undergo interrogation by prosecutors over her alleged crimes.