South Korea’s Constitutional Court unanimously ruled Friday that impeached President Park Geun-hye should be removed from office.
Park, 65, the country’s first female leader, started her five-year term in 2013. Her presidency fell apart when a corruption scandal led to huge street protests.
She’s the country’s first democratically elected leader to be removed from office.
Park allegedly colluded with her confidante, Choi Soon-sil, to extort tens of millions of dollars from businesses.
Parliament voted to impeach Park in December.
Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn is now the country’s acting head of state.
South Korea law requires a new presidential election within two months.
Acting Chief Justice Lee Jung-mi said Friday in the Constitutional Court ruling that Park violated the constitution and law, and betrayed the public trust.
“The benefits of protecting the constitution that can be earned by dismissing the defendant are overwhelmingly big. Hereupon, in a unanimous decision by the court panel, we issue a verdict: We dismiss the defendant, President Park Geun-hye,” Chief Justice Lee said.
Moon Jae-in, who lost to Park in the prior election, is now favored to win the top office.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.