(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
SEOUL - South Korea's Constitutional Court upheld the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye on Friday, removing her from office over a graft scandal involving big business that has gripped the country for months.
Park 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.
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 US missile-defense system being deployed in South Korea.