South Korean President Impeached

Divided S. Koreans Impeach President

President Roh Moo Hyun on Friday became South Korea’s first leader in history to be impeached, losing his constitutional powers in the climax of a political struggle that left South Koreans more sharply divided than at any point since the restoration of democracy in 1987.

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The key legal charge against Roh is that he made statements asking voters to support the Uri Party, made up of his core group of supporters. This was considered by the National Electoral Commission to be a minor infraction of electoral laws; presidents in South Korea are not allowed to campaign for legislators.

Roh was also accused of incompetence in leadership and connections to a swirling political corruption scandal that has hit his political opponents even harder than his own administration. Analysts said that it remained unclear whether the constitutional court would uphold the impeachment.

Hahm Sung Deuk, a leading political analyst at Korea University in Seoul, said: “There will be major fallout from this for South Korea; impeachment will mean increased economic and political uncertainty. This is a time when we need stability, and instead, we have the opposite.”

Bizarre.

FILED UNDER: World Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.