By Ko Dong-hwan, Park Si-soo
South Korea’s parliament has endorsed an impeachment motion against President Park Geun-hye with overwhelming support of opposition lawmakers and defiant members of Park’s ruling Saenuri Party.
The motion was endorsed at 4:13 p.m. by 234 lawmakers, with 56 voting against, 7 invalid and 2 abstaining in the 300-member unicameral National Assembly.
Park’s presidency will be formally suspended in a couple of hours when she receives an official letter of the result from the National Assembly. Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn will take as interim leader according to the Constitution.
Park’s suspension will continue for up to 180 days, during which the Constitutional Court will review the endorsed motion to decide whether her impeachment was justified.
If six members of the nine-judge court find the impeachment justifiable, Park will be removed from permanently and South Korea will have 60 days to elect a successor through a nationwide election. But if fewer than six judges do so, Park will immediately return to power.