Downfall of S. Korea President Is Complete

Park Geun-hye has moved out of presidential palace, is now open to prosecution
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 12, 2017 6:03 AM CDT
In this March 1, 2016, file photo, South Korean President Park Geun-hye leaves after a ceremony to celebrate the March First Independence Movement Day, the anniversary of the 1919 uprising against Japanese...   (Ahn Young-joon)
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(Newser) – Ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye left the presidential palace on Sunday, two days after the country's Constitutional Court removed her from office over a massive corruption scandal. 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 gathered, reports the AP. The Constitutional Court formally removed Park from office Friday, upholding an impeachment motion filed 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 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.

Hundreds of Park's supporters stood near her private home for hours before she vacated the Blue House. They waved the South Korean flag and photos of Park and her late father, Park Chung-hee, singing the national anthem and shouting "Nullify impeachment!" Workers were earlier seen unloading a television, washing machine, bed, and other household items from trucks and carrying them into Park's house. Park no longer has immunity from prosecution and may face criminal charges including extortion, bribery, and abuse of power. She has not made a public statement since Friday's court ruling. She earlier apologized for putting trust in her jailed friend, Choi Soon-sil, but strongly denied legal wrongdoing. South Korea now has to elect a new president by early May. Polls show liberal Moon Jae-in, who lost to Park in 2012, as favorite. (Here's a look at what's next for the nation.)

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