Outsted South Korean leader leaves presidential palace after impeachment

BY: BBC
A huge motorcade took Ms Park to her home in southern Seoul
A huge motorcade took Ms Park to her home in southern Seoul

Ousted South Korean leader Park Geun-hye has now left the presidential palace, two days after judges upheld parliament's decision to impeach her.

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Ms Park, who has still not commented on the ruling, arrived at her home in southern Seoul amid waving supporters.

She has been impeached over her role in a corruption scandal involving close friend, Choi Soon-sil.

Ms Park's opponents, who are calling for her arrest, and her supporters both held rallies in Seoul on Saturday.


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Ms Park has now lost her immunity and could face criminal proceedings over accusations she allowed Ms Choi to extort money from companies in return for political favours.

Ms Park left the presidential complex, the so-called Blue House, shortly after 19:00 local time (10:00 GMT) on Sunday after saying goodbye to her staff.

A huge motorcade carried her to her home in the Samseong district.

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Hundreds of her supporters had gathered there, waving national flags and cheering.

Ms Park emerged from her limousine amid a police presence of about 1,000 officers.

Her security detail had to push back the crowds as she shook hands with political allies.

The BBC's Stephen Evans in Seoul says Ms Park was upbeat and smiling, not showing the demeanour of a disgraced and regretful politician.

Hwang Kyo-ahn, who is loyal to Ms Park, is now the acting president.

The country's election commission says a "free and fair" vote will be held by 9 May at the latest.

The early front-runner, human rights lawyer Moon Jae-in, of the Democratic Party, warned Ms Park she "must not destroy or take the national records outside" the Blue House.

Thousands of people took to the streets of central Seoul on Saturday to celebrate Ms Park's removal, while a large crowd of her supporters occupied a nearby square.

Protests on Friday left two of Ms Park's supporters dead, with a third suffered a heart attack and died a day later.

Why did Park lose her job?

At the heart of the drama lies the close friendship between the president and Ms Choi.

Ms Choi is accused of using her presidential connections to pressure companies to give millions of dollars in donations to non-profit foundations she controlled.

Ms Park is alleged to have been personally involved in this, and to have given Ms Choi unacceptable levels of access to official documents.

Parliament voted to impeach Ms Park in December.

On Friday, the Constitutional Court ruled Ms Park's actions "seriously impaired the spirit of... democracy and the rule of law".

Judges said she had broken the law by allowing Ms Choi to meddle in state affairs, and had breached guidelines on official secrets by leaking numerous documents.

Ms 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," the ruling said.