South Korea president forced from office after court upholds impeachment

A panel of eight judges with the country's apex constitutional court had deliberated Ms Park's impeachment before deciding there was sound reason for her dismissal. And they are overwhelmingly hostile to now ex-President Park Geun-hye.

A presidential election will be held within 60 days.

The court's ruling on Friday, which was met with protests by hundreds of Park's supporters, brought an end to Park's almost five years in power.

She was also accused of soliciting bribes from the head of the Samsung Group for government favors, including backing a merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015.

The court said that Park had "concealed completely Choi's meddling in state affairs and denied it whenever suspicions over the act emerged and even criticised those who raised the suspicions". Instead of trying to stop her power abuse, the president used her power to hide the wrongdoings, Lee said.

Some of Park's supporters reacted angrily after the ruling, shouting and hitting police officers and reporters with plastic flag poles and steel ladders, and climbing on police buses. But they have recently regrouped and staged fierce pro-Park rallies.

Protesters react after hearing the Constitutional Court's verdict.

Park's office had no comment after the court announcement Wednesday of when it would rule.

Will Park Geun-hye's exit reshape South Korea's relationship with China and North Korea? "There's fear it's made [the country] more vulnerable", Lee said. As to what impact will the impeachment have on relations between Washington and Seoul, Goa said:"More recently the USA is very aggressive in terms of deploying the THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea despite widespread opposition in South Korea".

Park has yet to move out of the presidential home but she has already lost immunity from criminal prosecution and could face corruption charges.

Since she's now no longer in power, prosecutors can summon, question and possibly arrest her.

The main opposition Democratic Party (DP) urged Park to declare that she will accept whatever outcome for the sake of national unity, reflecting political opinion outside of the conservative ruling camp. By law, the country should elect a new leader in two months. Others say it won't be hard.

If the impeachment is upheld, as many analysts predict, the decision would immediately end what has been Park's controversial four-year tenure leading South Korea - a country of 50 million and Asia's fourth-largest economy.

  • Santos West