Thursday, 15 December 2016

Park’s Stunning Fall May Open the Door for Opposition Victory


Following weeks of massive street protests, Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s first female president, has been impeached by a vote in the country’s national assembly over accusations of extortion, bribery, abuses of power, leaking confidential government documents and violating the constitution.

Park has governed high-handedly with a secretive style of leadership that has stoked public curiosity in her closely guarded personal life. She campaigned on reducing income inequality and expanding welfare but emerged adrift as a bland center-right defender of the status quo.

She came to power in early 2013, supported at the ballot box by mainly senior citizens who saw her as channeling the legacy of her late father, the military dictator Park Chung-hee, often associated with modernization, rapid growth and authoritarianism.

The scandal that precipitated Park’s spectacular downfall is rooted in allegations that her longtime personal friend and confidant, Choi Soon-sil, exerted an inordinate amount of influence over government policies, edited the president’s speeches and even influenced government appointments.

Read the full story on New Eastern Outlook

Nile Bowie is a Singapore-based political commentator and columnist for the Malaysian Reserve newspaper. He can be reached at nilebowie@gmail.com.