News World South Korea’s Park Geun-hye leaves palace, breaks silence after impeachment

South Korea’s Park Geun-hye leaves palace, breaks silence after impeachment

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Park Geun-hye has broken her silence after leaving her Presidential headquarters. Photo: AAP
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Ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye has expressed defiance toward the corruption allegations against her after she vacated the presidential palace and returned to her home, two days after she was impeached.

In her first public comments since the Constitutional Court formally removed her from office, Ms Park said in a statement, “Although it will take time, I believe the truth will certainly come out”.

South Korean television showed Ms Park’s motorcade leaving the Blue House and heading for her private home in southern Seoul, where hundreds of police officers, reporters and supporters were gathered in anticipation of her arrival.

The court’s ruling upheld an impeachment motion filed by lawmakers in December amid suspicions she colluded with a confidante to extort money and favours from companies and allowed the friend to secretly manipulate state affairs.

The ruling ended a power struggle that consumed the nation for months and marked a stunning downfall for Ms Park, who convincingly defeated her liberal opponent in 2012 with overwhelming support from older South Koreans, who remembered her dictator father as a hero.

Hundreds of Ms Park’s supporters stood near her private home for hours on Sunday before she vacated the Blue House.

They waved the South Korean flag and photos of Ms Park and her late father, Park Chung-hee, singing the national anthem and shouting, “Nullify impeachment”.

Members of Ms Park’s conservative party also gathered at her home.

Workers were earlier seen unloading a television, washing machine, bed and other household items from trucks and carrying them into Ms Park’s house.

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

Park’s statement ‘shocking and very regrettable’

Youn Kwansuk, the spokesman for the liberal Democratic Party, called Ms Park’s statement “shocking” and “very regrettable” because she did not express remorse.

“Former president Park will now be investigated by prosecutors as a civilian and as a criminal suspect,” Youn said in a statement.

“So it’s very regrettable that former president Park decided to waste her last opportunity to come before the nation and show responsibility.”

She earlier apologised for putting trust in her jailed friend Choi Soon-sil, but strongly denied any legal wrongdoing.

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

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