On Friday, 9 December, the Parliament of South Korea voted to impeach President Park Geun-Hye. In order to make such a decision required a qualified majority of two-thirds majority (200 out of 300 deputies in the National Assembly). In the end, the impeachment was supported by 234 deputies, 56 voted against it.
The results of the anonymous vote shows that at least half of the ruling conservative saenuri party (which Pak ran for President in 2012) made against the head of state in this fraction is composed of 128 deputies. Earlier it became known that the ruling party has split. In early December a group of over 40 deputies from “Senuri” in favor of impeachment as the only solution to the political crisis.
A draft bill of impeachment by the opposition party in full their factions submitted 3 Dec. According to deputies, the President of the PAC violated the law by allowing his longtime girlfriend Choi sung-SIL, not occupying public office, to discuss with the President of the secret orders and to act on behalf of the President. In particular, we are talking about forcing the South Korean corporations to transfer funds in the associated Choi funds. We are talking about more than $100 million Scandal involving the girlfriend of the President began at the end of October. In early November, Choi was arrested, she is charged with extortion and interference in the Affairs of state. Against Pak no charges prosecutors have not yet filed, but in a statement the Agency said that prosecutors have reason to believe President Park’s accomplice Choi on several corruption counts.
The opposition to the bill pointed out the wreck of the sewol ferry in April 2014 as an aggravating circumstance: that Pak is responsible for the deaths of 304 people, as the Constitution should protect life of the citizens.
“Although presidential powers were suspended, and the Affairs of state should be sent in a normal manner, — commented on the decision of the speaker of Parliament Chong Segun. — In recent months, the state system was virtually paralyzed. Now that the impeachment is adopted, this discord must end”.
President Park during a meeting with members of the government on Friday apologized for her carelessness led to such a serious national crisis.
The decision for the court
As the national Assembly is the unicameral Parliament, the approval of the impeachment goes to the jurisdiction of the constitutional court of South Korea. Judges have 180 days to approve or reject the impeachment, that is, it must be done by the beginning of June. As reminds Agency “RenCap”, the previous attempt of impeachment took place in 2004, then the judges took 63 days to reject the decision of the deputies for the impeachment of then President Roh Moo-Hyun (he was accused of using his position to campaign for his new party before the parliamentary elections).
For the period of consideration of the case in court Pak removed from office of the President, but she retains privileges: residence, security, company car and salary of $15 thousand per month. Presidential duties transferred to the Prime Minister Hwang Guano. As noted by Reuters, the powers of the Prime Minister as the acting President of the law does not limited and only Hwang will depend on the intensity of his policy in his new post.
If the court approves the resignation of Pak, early elections must be held within 60 days thereafter. On the current plan elections will be held a year later, on 20 December 2017 and the PAC will not be able to participate in them, because presidential powers are limited to one five-year period. A split within the ruling party, the opposition could theoretically raise the issue of removing the Prime Minister, told a leading researcher of the Center for Korean studies Institute of the Far East Eugene Kim. However, until the decision of the constitutional court, such a development is unlikely, the expert said.
As in the case with Parliament, the constitutional court must approve the impeachment by a two-thirds majority of the votes, meaning at least six of the nine members must support the resignation of Pak. In the current environment to approve the impeachment will not be easy: two of the nine judges soon resign in age, and half of the Board was appointed Pak, and judges may not support the resignation, said earlier the Director of the Center for Asian strategy of Russia of the Institute of Economics Georgy Toloraya. On the other hand, law Professor sogan University in Seoul, lim JI-Bong said the Agency “RenCap”, the transfer Pak of the powers his friend Choi directly violates article 1 of the Constitution (by which the source of sovereignty is the Korean people). “Given the flagrant violation of the Basic law, I am sure, every one of the constitutional judges will vote for impeachment,” continued lim.
Former constitutional court judge told the news Agency Yonhap on condition of anonymity that the vast demonstrations for the resignation of Pak, which took place in recent months, will also affect the judges in making final decisions. This case emphasizes the lawyer, “radically different” from the attempted impeachment of President Roh Moo-Hyun 12 years ago, where the allegations did not stand almost no actual base.
On the old rails
Speaking with the television reference to the nation, interim President Hwang called on all public employees “to exert maximum effort in order to avoid gaps in diplomacy, economy and security policy”. The politician also announced that he would continue to defend the national interests of the country and will maintain close ties with foreign allies — primarily the US, where after a month there will be the inauguration of the new President of Donald trump. In turn, the outgoing White house administration said on Friday, “a calm, peaceful and conscious” nature of the change of government in Seoul, adding that relations between the two countries “will remain the linchpin of peace and stability in the region.”
Neither internal nor external policy of Korea during the temporary presidency of the hwan will not undergo major changes, says Kim of the Institute of the Far East. This is due not only to the fact that according to tradition, the acting President is trying to maintain the same course, but also the fact that Hwang is the same conservative party “Senuri”. For example, the decision-hwan in the first hours after the announcement of impeachment to meet with the head of the defense Ministry and to encourage him to stop all provocations by North Korea says, as Kim sees it, that mitigating policies against Pyongyang should not wait.
Relations between Washington and Seoul will remain strong and can be adjusted only on the American initiative: Kim reminded trump’s words that the allies should pay for its protection and the desire to renegotiate the free trade agreement. Such an agreement between Seoul and Washington goes 2012. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the volume of bilateral trade increased from $101,2 billion in 2012 to $115.2 billion for the full year 2015.
The decision of the Parliament on the impeachment will have a positive impact on the market in the short term (as the removal of political uncertainty), but may hurt the economy in the long term, stress interviewed by the Agency “Renhap” analysts. The resignation of the President is not a fundamental economic factor, while trade, which is the Foundation of the Korean economy depends on external factors such as movements in oil prices and from the first steps of the administration trump. The only real danger is to perpetuate the political crisis that will undermine investor confidence, slow down of consumer spending, and, therefore, will put pressure on GDP growth, according to the publication Yonhap. The impeachment of President Park little impact on the Korean stock exchange. The leading index KOSPI lost Friday for only 0.3%.