Court to rule on Park on March 10

Court to rule on Park on March 10

Court to rule on Park on March 10

The chief justice retired as scheduled in January, taking the number of judges on the bench down to eight, and the acting chief justice finishes her term on Monday, creating a deadline for their decision.

If the Constitutional Court rules on Friday to formally unseat Park, the country will have to hold a presidential election within 60 days. Kang expects the court to force the president out of office.

After South Korea's last presidential impeachment, of liberal President Roh Moo-hyun in 2004, the court reinstated him after two months, saying allegations of minor election law violations and incompetence weren't enough to justify his removal.

Even the head of her presidential secretariat did not know where she was when the disaster - the country's worst for decades - struck, sparking wild rumours including a tryst and a cosmetic surgery. But if more than three justices rule against impeachment, Park will regain her powers until the next regular presidential election on December 20.

Park's lawyers deny Choi intervened in state affairs, and say her roles were limited to partly rewording the president's speeches to make them easier for ordinary people to understand.

In a damning 101-page report released this week, the special counsel said the president colluded with Choi and recommended charges including abuse of power, coercing donations and sharing state secrets.

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"To truly unify public opinion, it is important that every bit of the truth comes to light", he said.

"The core goal of this investigation was to shed light on longstanding collusion between private interests and the government, and to expose cases of abuse of state power for personal gain", said Park Young-soo, the head of the special prosecution team.

Huge but peaceful demonstrations against Park - topping a million protesters, according to organizers - helped bring the issue to a head at the end of a year ago.

A decision to confirm the impeachment of President Park needs approval from at least six justices. In the late 1990s, she became a lawmaker in the conservative party and was elected South Korea's first female president in 2012.

Park was impeached by the parliament over a corruption scandal involving her and her longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil, following weeks of massive street rallies calling for her ouster.

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