With Its President Kicked Out, What's Next for South Korea?

2 die in protests after Park removed from office
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2017 5:41 AM CST
Updated Mar 10, 2017 6:35 AM CST
What's Next for South Korea
Supporters of South Korean President Park Geun-hye shout slogans during a rally opposing her impeachment near the Constitutional Court in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, March 10, 2017.   (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

South Korea's president was kicked out of office Friday after the country's Constitutional Court upheld her impeachment—and while much of the country is celebrating, loyal supporters are furious. At least two of them were killed in protest outside the court, reports Reuters. Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn is now South Korea's acting president until an election is held, which, by law, must happen on or before May 9. A spokesman said Park, who could now face criminal charges over a corruption scandal, will not be leaving the Blue House residence Friday. A roundup of coverage:

  • With Park's center-right party tainted by scandal, most analysts expect the primaries of the country's liberal Democratic Party to determine South Korea's next president, the AP reports. Front-runners Moon Jae-in and An Heejung have differing views on North Korea and the US, with Moon more open to dialogue with Pyongyang and to challenging the US over the THAAD anti-missile system.

  • Prosecutors say the case for removing Park from office for her role in the corruption scandal could not have been clearer, but her lawyers have vowed to fight on, the Washington Post reports. So have her supporters, who tend to be older, more conservative South Koreans.
  • The New York Times describes the removal of Park as part of the backlash against the old order once represented by her father, who ruled as a dictator from 1961 until his assassination in1979. "Her removal means that the curtain is finally drawing on the authoritarian political and economic order that has dominated South Korea for decades,"says Ahn Byong-jin, of the Global Academy for Future Civilizations at Seoul's Kyung Hee University.
  • Reuters reports that restaurants acrossSouth Korea are selling out of chicken as people order chicken dishes to celebrate the removal of the leader with the derogatory nickname "Chicken Guen-hye."
  • Al Jazeera has a day-by-day look at the events that led to Park's stunning downfall, starting with the raising of suspicions last summer about organizations connected to her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil.
  • The BBC reports that the predicted leftward shift in South Korean politics could see the reopening of a joint venture industrial complex just across the border in North Korea—and could complicate relations with the US when it is trying to isolate Pyongyang internationally.
(More South Korea stories.)

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