2nd LD: S. Korean president ousted as court upholds impeachment motion

SEOUL-- South Korean President Park Geun-hye was ousted as the country's head of state on Friday after the constitutional court upheld a motion to impeach the scandal-scarred leader.

The court's acting Chief Justice Lee Jung-mi read the ruling on the impeachment, broadcast live nationwide, saying it was the unanimous decision of eight justices.

By law, the court's ruling takes effect immediately after the reading. Park will be required to leave the presidential Blue House as she officially lost all of her presidential power as well as her title as the incumbent president.

President Park is the first South Korean leader to be forcibly removed from office by the impeachment. She is the second president to be impeached in the country's constitutional history.

In March 2004, then President Roh Moo-hyun was impeached for his call on voters to support his own party in the parliamentary elections of that year. About two months later, he was reinstated as the court ruled that his violation of an election law was not grave enough to boot him from office.

South Koreans, who had called for Park's resignation, cheered outside the court in downtown Seoul after hearing the impeachment verdict.

Park's ouster is an unprecedented event in South Korea's modern history, as there is no specific law stipulating that the impeached leader must leave the Cheong Wa Dae by a given date.

Since the Dec. 9 passage in the National Assembly of the impeachment bill, a total of 20 hearings had been held in the court. It took 92 days before the court's final decision, longer than the 64 days required for the 2004 ruling on Roh's impeachment. During the 64-day period, only seven hearings were held in 2004.

Park will be subject to indictment and detention by prosecutors as she lost her presidential immunity following the court's ruling.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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