South Korean lawmakers on Friday passed an impeachment motion against President Park Geun-hye over an influence-peddling scandal that has sparked public anger and fueled huge street protests.
Members of parliament approved the motion in an overwhelming majority, with 234 voting in favor and 56 opposing it, Reuters reports.
The voting numbers mean that dozens of members of Park’s own conservative Saenuri Party backed the motion to remove her.
At least 200 members of the 300-seat chamber needed to vote for the motion for it to pass.
Seven votes were disqualified, two members abstained and one member did not participate, the parliament speaker was quoted as saying.
Friday’s vote sets the stage for Park to become the country’s first elected leader to be pushed from office in disgrace.
The Constitutional Court must decide whether to uphold the motion, a process that could take up to 180 days.
Park’s duties were immediately assumed by Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn on an interim basis.
Park, 64, is accused of colluding with a friend and a former aide, both of whom have been indicted by prosecutors, to pressure big businesses to donate to two foundations set up to back her policy initiatives.
The president, who is serving a five-year term that was set to end in February 2018, has denied wrongdoing but apologized for carelessness in her ties with her friend, Choi Soon-sil.
Mass rallies have been held in Seoul every Saturday for the past six weeks to press her to quit.
Opinion polls have shown overwhelming public support for her impeachment.
– Contact us at [email protected]