President of South Korea accused on violating the Constitution

Thursday, 5 January, 2017 - 11:30

South Korean lawmakers on Thursday accused President Park Geun-hye of "broadly and gravely" violating the constitution as the country's Constitutional Court began hearing oral arguments in her impeachment trial.

The allegations were made as Park's lawyers and lawmakers, who serve as prosecutors in the trial, traded pointed arguments over accusations she colluded with a confidante to extort money and favors from companies and allowed the friend to unlawfully interfere with government affairs.

The hearing came as Park's jailed friend, Choi Soon-sil, dressed in white prison clothes, appeared in her criminal trial in a different court in the capital Seoul where she told the judge she denies the allegations against her.

The chief prosecutor in the trial, lawmaker Kweon Seong Dong, said Park abused her position by "broadly and gravely" violating the constitution to commit corruption and turn state affairs into a profit tool for her friend.

He said she had to be kicked out of the presidency to repair the damage she had caused to the country's democracy.

After Park was impeached in the National Assembly last month, the Constitutional Court has six months to decide if she should permanently step down or be reinstated. If Park is formally removed from office, an election has to hold within 60 days.