The motion to impeach President Park Geun-hye went to vote on Friday at 3pm (Korean time). In the National Assembly, 299 lawmakers cast votes on the motion. To pass, the motion needed 200 votes to pass, or two-thirds of the assembly. Below is the result:
For Impeachment: 234
Against Impeachment: 56
Abstaining Votes: 2
Unaccounted for: 7
As of writing, the impeachment motion has been turned over to the Constitutional Court and President Park’s powers have been suspended pending the outcome of the court. Until the result is passed, Prime Minister Hwan Kyo-ahn is acting President. In order for the motion to pass the court, 6 votes are needed out of 9 judges. A complicating factor, however, is that two judges will see their terms end – one in January and one in March – while the court is working on the issue; the court will have 6 months to render a ruling on the issue. As acting president, Hwan will have the power to appoint judges to the court. But he may not have to since many experts feel the court will render a verdict on the motion before the 6 months pass. If the court holds up the will of the assembly, an election will be held within 60 days. An early ruling in favor of the motion may give the opposition parties a higher chance of winning the election since the Saenuri party will have a tough struggle to separate itself from President Park.*
*Sources are not included in the post since it is a breaking update and the author watched the verdict as it was announced on Arirang and Yonhap live feeds. Please feel free to visit this post; this post; this post; this post; this post and; this post for more sources on the scandal. I will be posting an analysis tomorrow, maybe Saturday (American time).