South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye has finally lost the battle to stay in office as the Constitutional Court on Friday upheld her impeachment by the parliament.
President Park was indicted over a graft scandal involving big business, including Samsung,that has gripped the country for months.
Park, the first woman to be elected president also becomes South Korea’s first democratically elected leader to be forced from office.
A presidential election will be held in 60 days, according to the constitution.
“We remove Park Geun-hye from office,” Lee Jung-mi, acting president of the court, told the hearing.
“Her actions betrayed the people’s confidence. They are a grave violation of law which cannot be tolerated.”
The ruling to uphold parliament’s Dec. 9 vote to impeach Park over an influence-peddling scandal is the most dramatic twist in a political crisis that has gripped the country for months, Reuters reported.
The political crisis has come at a time when rival North Korea is pushing ahead with its missile program and tension is brewing with China over a U.S. missile-defence system being deployed in South Korea.
Park, 65, was accused of colluding with a friend, Choi Soon-sil, and a former presidential aide, both of whom have been on trial, to pressure big businesses to donate to two foundations set up to back her policy initiatives.
She was also accused of soliciting bribes from the head of the Samsung Group for government favours, including backing a merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015 that was seen as supporting the succession of control over the country’s largest “chaebol” conglomerate.
Park denied any wrongdoing.
Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn was appointed acting president and will remain in that post until the election. (NAN)