S Korean opposition vows justice as ousted leader Park leaves Blue House
by Compiled from Wire Services
ISTANBULMar 13, 2017 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Compiled from Wire Services
Mar 13, 2017 12:00 am
Ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye left the presidential palace Sunday, two days after the country's Constitutional Court removed her from office over a massive corruption scandal amid calls from opposition groups promising justice and common sense.
South Korean television showed Park's motorcade leaving the Blue House and heading for her private home in southern Seoul, where hundreds of police officers, reporters and supporters were gathered in anticipation of her arrival.
The Constitutional Court formally removed Park from office on Friday, upholding an impeachment motion filed by lawmakers in December amid suspicions that she colluded with a confidante to extort money and favors from companies and allowed the friend to secretly manipulate state affairs.
The ruling ended a power struggle that had consumed the nation for months and marked a stunning downfall for Park, who convincingly defeated her liberal opponent in 2012 with overwhelming support from older South Koreans, who remembered her dictator father as a hero.
Park, 65, is South Korea's first democratically elected leader to be forced from office. Her ouster followed months of political paralysis and turmoil over a corruption scandal that also landed the head of the Samsung conglomerate in jail and facing trial. Park did not appear in court on Friday and she has not made any comment since.
She has remained at the Blue House though would leave at some time and return to her Seoul residence, a spokesman had said.
Park's dismissal marked a dramatic fall from grace of South Korea's first woman president and daughter of Cold War military dictator Park Chung-hee. She served as his first lady after the 1974 assassination of her mother.
Her father, who seized power in a 1961 coup, ruled for 18 years until he was assassinated in 1979.
Now, having lost presidential immunity, she could face criminal charges over bribery, extortion and abuse of power in connection with allegations of conspiring with her friend, Choi Soon-sil. Both women denied wrongdoing.
A Blue House spokesman had said "nothing has been decided" about her departure.
Earlier, media outside her private home in Seoul's upmarket Gangnam district said renovators were working in the house. Television later showed pictures of a moving van parked outside the house and men unloading boxes and furniture.
Hundreds of Park's supporters gathered outside her home as Moon called on Park to publicly accept the court ruling.
He said it would be cruel to force her out of the Blue House while her private home was being prepared for two or three days. But he warned that she should not try to destroy or remove any documents when she left.
Thousands of Park's opponents rallied in Seoul on Saturday, where they have been gathering every weekend for months, to celebrate her departure and demand that she be arrested.
The former president's conservative supporters also took to the streets not far away, though fewer in numbers.
Police were out in force with riot shields but there were no reports of trouble.
Two pro-Park protesters were killed as they tried to break through police lines outside the court on Friday.
One was believed to have had a heart attack, a hospital official said, and the other died as protesters attacked police buses being used as a barricade. A third protester, a man aged 74, suffered a heart attack and died on Saturday.