South Korea’s First Presidential Impeachment

Steven Courney (12th), Reporter

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After months of nationwide protests, South Korea’s president was officially impeached when the Constitutional Court unanimously voted to uphold the legislature’s decision. This is the first time a democratically-elected leader in South Korea has been impeached.

Much of the controversy has been centered around President Park’s close relationship with Choi Soon-sil, who was a top aide to the president, even though she held no official office. On November 20th of last year, Choi was charged with many charges, including abuse of authority, coercion, attempted coercion and attempted fraud, all of which she is going to trial for.

Choi is the daughter of an important Korean government figure from the 70’s, who also started a cult and received heavy criticism for his relationship with President Park’s father.

Many South Koreans have protested against this relationship, some saying that their president was nothing more than a puppet of Choi and agenda.

Choi accusations include using her position to pressure many major companies into giving her millions of dollars in donations. One of the companies involved, Samsung, claimed they did give donations, however they did not do it in exchange for any favors.

In addition to this, Choi is accused of accessing confidential government documents about the president and North Korea.

Both women have apologized publicly many times, however their apologies have been vague and unclear. Earlier in October, Choi said in questioning that she had committed an unpardonable crime. Her lawyer later clarified that this was not a legal admission of guilt.

Park has apologized for some slip-ups, claiming that she went to Choi for advice and received some help editing speeches, but that was halted once she had her own team of advisers. Other witnesses that Choi continued to receive briefings and official classified papers even after Park had her team.

The president has spoken much of the great shame she feels regarding all of this. She has already said that she is willing to speak and be questioned by investigators, but she has put up resistance when it comes to actually questioning her.

Her spokesman and legal team continue to claim that all of these allegations are false and are “but a house of cards built on repeated imagination.”

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