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South Korea’s first woman president impeached, involved in corruption scandal

President Park Guen-hye of South Korea is at the center of a corruption scandal and in the process of being impeached since she allegedly allowed her confidante to intervene in top-secret government affairs. According to the BBC News, she is now forfeiting “the title and the honor of the nation’s first female president.” She stepped back from her duties on December 9, 2016, and her case is currently being judged by the constitutional court.

Allegedly, President Park’s good friend Choi Soon-sil has been acting as an advisor in the shadows, an allegation first reported by JTBC, a South Korean nationwide cable TV network, on October 24, 2016. JTBC reporters searched one of the offices that used to belong to Ms. Choi and found her tablet PC, which contained 44 drafts of a significant presidential speech that Ms. Choi should not have had access to. Ms. Choi is accused of using her power to force companies to give millions of dollars in fundraising for two private foundations she controlled. The investigation has spread to the Samsung Corporation. Chung Yoo-ra, the daughter of Ms. Choi, was arrested in Denmark, and South Korea is taking extradition steps to bring her back to South Korea.

The Korean Constitution promises that “The sovereignty of the Republic of Korea resides in the people, and all state authority emanates from the people.” Despite that promise, some South Koreans have lost faith in the federal government because of the current scandal. However, Ashley Roh ’18 believes, “this is the time to show that the Koreans dwell in great deal of unity no matter what the situation gets.”

President Park has made three public statements about the corruption scandal, although they do not appear to be appeasing citizens.

President Park father, Park Chung-hee, was a controversial despotic leader of South Korea from 1961 until his assassination in 1979, when the current President Park was 22 years old. The current President Park was inaugurated as the 18th president of South Korea in February 2013.

Image: A parody in which Choi Soon-Sil is manipulating President Park Guen-hye as a puppet. Image source: The Korean Internet Journalist Cooperative.