S.Korean stocks, won firmer as sentiment improves after impeachment

This image shows President Park Geun-hye and Lee Jung-mi acting chief justice of the Constitutional Court

A South Korean court on Friday affirmed parliament's decision to impeach President Park Geun-hye amid a corruption probe, removing her from office in one of the most stunning political downfalls in the nation's history.

These and other accusations led to Choi's arrest last November at the same time that President Park appeared on national television to apologise to the Korean people for what she described at the time as her own "neglect".

Her action had "seriously impaired the spirit of. democracy and the rule of law", chief justice Lee Jung-Mi said.

The downfall of South Korea's first female president Park Geun-hye is now sealed.

"We respect the verdict from the Constitutional Court and accept the result", a spokesperson for Park's party, Liberty Korea - formally known as Saenuri - in a statement after the verdict was announced.

The merger was seen as an effort to solidify third-generation dynastic control for Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, grandson of Lee Byung-chul, who founded the company in 1938.

Prosecutors have recommended Park face 13 charges including abuse of power and sharing of state secrets.

In her early presidency, Park, 65, looked an unassailable icon among conservative voters as she reminded them of her father Park Chung-hee, an assassinated military strongman who was worshipped by right-leaning voters as a leader who sped up industrialization. She handed over responsibility for running the country to Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn.

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Hundreds of demonstrators, both for and against Park, have gathered outside the court, which was blockaded by police buses.

The public opinion about Park saw a sharp decline, with her approval rating falling to a dismal 4 percent. The ruling follows months of political drama and corruption probes that have shaken the country's political class, bureaucracy and large conglomerates, including Samsung Group.

Charges against the disgraced president also include neglect of duty in the government's rescue efforts during the 2014 Sewol ferry sinking which left more than 300 dead or missing.

She also loses her presidential immunity and can be prosecuted. The court's decision by the country's National Assembly was unanimous.

The confirmation of the removal and the calling of new elections as provided for in the South Korean constitution come at a hard time for the country.

Park Geun-hye has always been considered a kind of princess figure in South Korea, and one with a traumatic past.

"If the rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula look increasingly alarming, the Korean stock market remains remarkably unfazed", the analysis says.



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