World Bulletin / News Desk
South Korean President Park Geun-hye missed the second hearing of her impeachment trial Thursday, forcing Seoul’s Constitutional Court to proceed without her.
Park’s absence from Tuesday’s inaugural hearing meant the session lasted less than 10 minutes, but this time the court’s nine justices were able to listen to arguments from the suspended president’s lawyers and parliamentary representatives.
Lawmaker Kwon Seong-dong, chairman of the National Assembly’s legislation and judiciary committee, said that “dismissing the president is aimed not only at recovering the national loss and vacuum in the running of state affairs but at restoring the constitutional order”.
Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn is acting president while Park faces a series of accusations including allowing secret confidante Choi Soon-sil to steer state affairs and working with her to force conglomerates to make donations to a pair of sports and culture foundations.
Kwon was quoted by local news agency Yonhap as insisting Park abused her position “to violate the people's basic rights”.
The president’s lawyers indicated she would continue to avoid attending the trial, but attorney Lee Joong-hwan did reject the claims against Park -- who herself blamed the scandal on misleading media coverage when offering reporters their first chance at listening to a candid personal defense on New Year’s Day.
Lee maintained his client did not offer favors in return for donations, but rather had “a great interest in the culture and sports sectors with the sole purpose of promoting [them]”.
“President Park didn't know that Choi was effectively in control of the foundations,” he added.
State prosecutors named Park as an accomplice when they indicted Choi before handing the case over to an ongoing independent investigation.
The Constitutional Court has a 180-day period to reach a decision on last month’s parliamentary move to oust the president, but the overall probe has been hampered so far by suspects and witnesses failing to appear for questioning.Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Ocak 2017, 09:38