The unprecedented decision was unanimous, with all eight judges on the court voting to remove Park, the country’s first female president, from office. South Koreans immediately took to the streets, with some groups protesting against the decision and others celebrating her removal from power.
Two people died in the protests, a statement from Prime Minister and acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn said.
The decision was revealed by Justice Lee Jung-mi Friday in a live broadcast that gripped the nation.
“We announce the decision as the unanimous opinion of all judges. We dismiss the defendant President Park,” said Lee.
South Korea’s political stability is crucial to the security of the region — it is a key buttress against North Korea, its provocative neighbor, and a major trading partner with the US and its Asian neighbors.
Here are the main developments from the day:
- South Korea’s first female president becomes the first to be ousted as a result of impeachment.
- Now stripped of her immunity, Park is liable to prosecution for the scandal that brought about her ouster.
- Pro- and anti-Park protests throng the streets of the capital.
- Park supporters have been cordoned off by police; they’re trying to reach the court which handed down the decision.
- Injuries have been reported as emotions run high in the protests.
- North Korea says Park will be investigated “as a common criminal.”
Park is the first South Korean president to be thrown out of office by the court. An election for her replacement must be held within 60 days, with Hwang, the acting President, to set the day.
Park’s ouster means she loses the protection from prosecution she enjoyed as president. She could now face a formal investigation into her role in the corruption scandal which led to her impeachment.