President Park's Impeachment Ruling to be Announced Friday at 11AM

President Park's Impeachment Ruling to be Announced Friday at 11AM

SEOUL, March 8 (Yonhap) -- The Constitutional Court will deliver its ruling on the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye Friday, a court official said.

   The announcement will be made at 11 a.m. and broadcast live from the main courtroom, court spokesman Bae Bo-yoon said Wednesday.

   If the court upholds the impeachment, Park will be permanently removed from office and South Korea will be required to hold a presidential election within 60 days.

   If the court rejects her impeachment, Park will be immediately reinstated to serve out her term through February.'

Park was impeached by parliament in December for allegedly letting her close 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 duty to protect citizens' lives during a 2014 ferry sinking that killed more than 300.

   The scandal has prompted millions of South Koreans to take to the streets to demand her ouster or reinstatement.

   It also led to the indictment of 30 people suspected of involvement in the crimes, including Samsung's de facto leader Lee Jae-yong.'

Park was named an accomplice to Choi in taking bribes from the nation's top conglomerate in exchange for business favors. She has not been indicted, though, as a sitting president is immune from criminal prosecution.

   The court's verdict is expected to be announced by acting Chief Justice Lee Jung-mi or Justice Kang Il-won, who served as the lead justice for the case.

   However, if both Lee and Kang voted for the minority opinion, the ruling will be read out by the longest-serving justice among those who voted for the verdict.

   Bae declined to elaborate on how the announcement will be made.

   There are currently eight justices on the bench after Chief Justice Park Han-chul retired in January after completing his term. Park's ouster requires the approval of at least six justices.

   The court was widely expected to deliver its ruling by Monday, when the acting chief is set to retire.

   Park is the second South Korean president to be impeached. In 2004, then-President Roh Moo-hyun was impeached by parliament on charges including illegal electioneering, but he was reinstated by the court two months later.'
 

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