Expelled South Korean president hides from crowds

Amid huge street protests, Park Geun-hye stays silent in presidential office despite being ousted by local court

Expelled South Korean president hides from crowds

World Bulletin / News Desk

There was no sign Saturday of now former South Korean leader Park Geun-hye leaving the presidential office, even though Seoul’s Constitutional Court reached a unanimous decision to uphold her impeachment the day before.

Park was expelled for allowing an unvetted private confidante to influence state affairs, but she is expected to still face prosecution over charges ranging from accepting bribes to the creation of a cultural blacklist. The vast scandal has already led to 30 suspects being indicted, including Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong.

Having become the country’s first democratically-elected leader to be expelled from office, Park is yet to issue any kind of statement.

“The [former] president has been in a state of shock, and it appears that she needs time to come to terms with what has happened to her,” one of her aides told Yonhap News Agency over the phone.

Park will be afforded security at her previous residence in Seoul, but it is legally unclear how soon she has to physically leave the presidential office.

The main opposition Democratic Party demanded that she show a sign of accepting Friday’s court’s verdict. Spokesperson Youn Kwan-suk said it is “as if she is discontent and disobedient.”

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people gathered one last time in central Seoul as they have done every Saturday evening since October to demand Park’s resignation. Fireworks mingled with candlelight in what was very much a celebration.

A rival protest nearby featured a very different atmosphere, however, as Park’s supporters rejected the impeachment ruling.

Earlier, four pro-Park demonstrators were brought into custody for attacking a police station after three people died as a result of violence the previous day.

Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn – who is acting as president – called for national unity. The country is expected to choose a new leader via a snap election within 60 days.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 11 Mart 2017, 23:37