News ID: 189222
Published: 0708 GMT March 12, 2017

Ousted South Korea president leaves office

Ousted South Korea president leaves office

Ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye expressed defiance toward the corruption allegations against her as she vacated the presidential palace and returned to her home on Sunday, two days after the Constitutional Court removed her from office.

In her first public comments since the court's ruling, Park said in a statement, “Although it will take time, I believe the truth will certainly come out,” AP reported.

Park will likely face a direct investigation soon by prosecutors who already consider her a criminal suspect over suspicions that she colluded with a confidante to extort money and favors from companies and allowed her friend to secretly interfere with state affairs.

In her statement, which was read to reporters by Min Kyungwook, a lawmaker from her conservative party and her former spokesman, Park also expressed gratitude to her supporters and apologized for "failing to fulfill my duty as president."

Prior to Sunday, she had apologized for putting trust in her jailed friend, Choi Soon-sil, but strongly denied any legal wrongdoing.

Youn Kwansuk, the spokesman for the liberal Democratic Party, the largest in parliament, called Park's statement "shocking" and "very regrettable" because she did not express remorse.

Park no longer has immunity from prosecution and may face criminal charges including extortion, bribery and abuse of power.

The Constitutional Court formally removed her from office on Friday, upholding an impeachment motion filed by lawmakers in December that followed weeks of massive protests by millions of people calling for her ouster.

Her departure from the presidential Blue House on Sunday evening came a day after tens of thousands of opponents and supporters divided the streets of downtown Seoul with massive rallies, reflecting a nation deeply split over its future. Three people died and dozens were injured in violent clashes between Park's supporters and police following the court's ruling on Friday.

South Korea now has to elect a new president by early May. Opinion polls show the Democratic Party's Moon Jae-in, who lost to Park in 2012, as the favorite to become the country's next leader.


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