SEOUL, South Korea – South Korean lawmakers could vote this Friday on a bill to impeach President Park Geun-hye. She has been accused by state prosecutors of colluding in the criminal activities of a longtime confidante who allegedly manipulated power from the shadows and extorted companies to build an illicit fortune.
The impeachment motion needs the support of at least 200 lawmakers in the 300-seat parliament to pass. There are 172 opposition and independent lawmakers who are expected to vote for Park's removal, which suggests the bill would need the support of at least 28 members of Park's conservative Saenuri Party.
If the bill goes through, Park's presidential status will be suspended and her presidential duties temporarily transferred to the prime minister while the country's Constitutional Court reviews whether her impeachment could be constitutionally justified.
The court would be required to make a ruling within 180 days. If six of the court's nine justices support the impeachment, Park will be officially removed from office. The country then has to hold a presidential election within 60 days.