President Park Geun-hye was forced out of office for the first time in Korea's history since its independence in 1945. It took 92 days for the impeachment process to come to an end beginning on December 9 when lawmakers in the National Assembly passed the impeachment motion.
Constitutional Court acting chief Lee Jung-mi declared at 11 am on March 10 the claimee to the motion to be dismissed. She said in a statement, "The claimee's actions seriously impaired the spirit of democracy and the rule of law. Her actions betrayed the people's confidence. These are a grave violation of law, which cannot be tolerated."
The verdict was made in a unanimous vote of 8 to 0. There was no constitutional court justice who raised objection. It took 22 minutes for the chief judge to read the statement.
The judges found that Park infringed upon the property rights and the freedom of business enterprise by forcing large corporations to donate 77.4 billion won to the Mir Foundation and the K-Sports Foundation which were under control by her long-time friend Choi Soon-sil. Park also abused her powers by allowing Choi to take confidential information related to state affairs for personal gain. The President was also accused of lying to the prosecutors' questioning and refusing to be searched for evidence.
However, the court pronounced that negligence in relation to the ferry sinking incident, exerting undue influence on the press, and abusing the executive power to hire and fire public officials were not sufficient reasons for dismissing the President from her position.
Park Geun-hye's term has ended as soon as the court upheld a parliamentary vote to impeach her. She will lose the executive immunity as soon as she steps down, meaning that she may be summoned, questioned, and prosecuted by the prosecutors as any other citizens. It was reported that she will stay a few more days in the Presidential Palace without going back home in Seoul's south immediately, due to repairs that must be completed soon.