South Korea’s Constitutional Court on 10 March 2017 voted unanimously to remove the country’s President, Park Geun-hye, from office. With the impeachment, Park becomes the first South Korean President to be removed from office. As per the law of the country, Park’s successor must be elected within 60 days. At present, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn is serving as the acting President of the country.
Park was accused of colluding with a friend, Choi Soon-il, who allegedly pressured companies to donate money in return for government favours. After the allegations, she was suspended from official duties in December 2016. However, both Park and her friend denied the accusations.
By far the biggest corporate head on the block in the scandal is Samsung chief and heir to its USD 316 billion empire, Jay Y Lee. Up to USD 50 million from Samsung was allegedly paid into entities overseen by Choi in return for help cementing Lee’s control of Samsung. Lee has been in a jail since February 2017.
Born on 2 February 1952, Park Geun-hye served as the 11th President of South Korea. She was the first woman to be elected as President of the country. She is also the first president to be impeached. She was the first female president of a Northeast Asian nation and the first female elected as head of state in East Asia. Prior to her presidency, she served as the chairwoman of the conservative Grand National Party (now Saenuri Party) from 2004 to 2006 and from 2011 to 2012.
In 2013 and 2014, she was ranked 11th on the Forbes list of the world’s 100 most powerful women and the most powerful woman in East Asia. In 2014, she was ranked 46th on the Forbes list of the world’s most powerful people. On 9 December 2016, she was impeached by the National Assembly on charges related to influence peddling by a top aide. The impeachment was upheld by the Constitutional Court on 10 March 2017, ending her presidency and forcing her out of office.