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South Korean judge's hair curlers a sidelight in impreachment uproar
20 Marzo 2017, 08:34 | Amalia D'elia
Demonstrators call for Park's impeachment near the Constitutional Court on Friday in Seoul
Friday's unanimous eight-person Constitutional Court ruling, that upheld last December's National Assembly decision to impeach President Park Geun-hye, has finally swept away the uncertainty that has paralysed the country for months. That raises important policy questions for Seoul, both domestic and global, but it is also an important reminder of the strength of the South's democratic institutions.
Park, 65, has been accused of colluding with a friend, Choi Soon-sil, and a former presidential aide, both of whom have been on trial, to pressure big businesses to donate to two foundations set up to back her policy initiatives.
Park has denied any wrongdoing.
The court said she broke the law by allowing Choi to meddle in state affairs, and breached guidelines on official secrets by leaking numerous documents.
The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions said in a statement that, "President Park took the remarkable position that she will remain the president for a small number of pro-Park forces and her supporters".
Choo Mi-ae, leader of the opposition Democratic Party of Korea, hailed the court ruling as a historic triumph of people power and democracy over an entrenched government and corporate monopoly.
Ousted South Korea's former President Park Geun-hye, center, arrives at her private home in Seoul, South Korea, on Sunday.
The conservative faction is in disarray, with the ruling party splitting into those who supported the president and those wanting to distance themselves from her following her suspension.
"We need to move beyond the president's impeachment". Anti-Park protesters celebrated by marching in the streets near the presidential Blue House, carrying flags, signs and an effigy of Park dressed in prison clothes and tied up with rope.
Police surround demonstrators during a protest in front of the Constitutional Court in Seoul, South Korea, in this image from video, March 10, 2017.
Yonhap news agency said nine senior presidential advisers tendered their resignations to acting leader Hwang Kyo-ahn today.
Park is part of a powerful political family in South Korea; her father led the country for almost two decades in the 1960s and 1970s, ushering in an era of economic dynamism.
South Korea's temporary government was expected this week to confirm the date May 9 for a new presidential election following the impeachment of President Park Guen-hye.
For the 77% of Koreans backing impeachment - including the hundreds of thousands of young and middle-aged voters who joined candle-lit demonstrations over the past months - Ms Park's failings have been proof of the wider institutional and political shortcomings of the country.
For the roughly 20% of the population opposed to impeachment - predominately citizens in their sixties and above - the attack on the president is a politically motivated witch-hunt, based on rumour and unsubstantiated allegations.
Friday's ruling now triggers a round of special elections to replace Park within the next 60 days. While she was still in college, her mother was killed by a bullet meant for her father, shot by a North Korean sympathizer.
Park had been part of the nation's political community since she was a child.
She effectively became South Korea's first lady at the age of 22, and during this time became close to Choi Tae-min, the founder of a religious cult that incorporated elements of Christianity and Buddhism.
Park's ouster marked a dramatic fall from grace for South Korea's first woman president and daughter of Cold War military dictator Park Chung-hee.
Editor's Note:An audio for this story will be added when it is available.