Park Geun-hye’s Impeachment: What’s Next?


In South Korea, the National Assembly (parliament) has begun its meeting over the course of which it will vote on the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye. 


The reason for impeachment is not only that citizens are tired of the US occupation, but also the corruption which has been exposed in the highest echelons of power. The notorious scandal involving the "witch" Choi Sung Sil was just one cause that brought a great number of people out onto the streets.

Meanwhile, the relationship between Park Geun-hye and the parliament, where the majority of seats are occupied by opposition forces to the president, began to sour after the decision to host the US missile defense system. Then, for the first time, the question of impeachment was raised. But earlier, despite mass protests of South Korean citizens, the soil for impeachment was not quite prepared.


The initiators of the impeachment have declared that the decision on impeachment will pass if the required number of votes, both within the ruling Saenuri Party and outside of it, will be tallied, i.e., 200 out of 300 deputies.

However, South Korean political experts are not sure if 40% of the deputies of the Saenuri Party are really ready to vote against Park Geun-hye. The meeting is believed to be very intense. It is too premature to speak of a victory of patriotic forces.


If the National Assembly approves the impeachment, then Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn will head the government for the next six months until the Constitutional Court decides on the president’s resignation.  After the court decision, special elections will be scheduled in the country and Hwang Kyo-ahn will have little chance to win them. On the other hand, there is the small chance that the court will not support the impeachment, as has already happened once in the history of the country.


The main contender for the presidency is considered to be Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon, a member of the Democratic Party. He strongly supported the protests against Park Geun-hye and personally participated in them.

However, the latest public opinion polls conducted by Gallup Korea Agency show that, at the moment, the Mayor of Seongnam (a suburb of Seoul) Lee Jae Min has great chances. Moreover, his rating has been steadily increasing. At the moment, his approval rating is 18%, but it is also expected to rapidly grow.

Former Democratic Party leader Moon Jae Ying is likely another candidate, who in the last presidential elections lost to Park Geun-hye by a small margin, and even the current UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is a candidate. They both got 20% of votes.