Back to article

Leadership in South Korea

South Korea’s president is permanently stripped of her powers

Park Geun-hye is the first leader in the country’s democratic history to be forced by parliament from office

See article

Readers' comments

Reader comments are listed below. Comments are currently closed and new comments are no longer being accepted.



Video killed the radio star... reminds me of this song. What is her real crime? Perhaps she and the older generation were too complacent and didn't read the change of tides. Nothing is black and white. When you strip out the noise (mz. Choi), what is the real concern, what is the real underlying risk that the older generation people are willing to die for? Nobody is perfect and one must admit their wrong doings and ask for forgiveness and try to redeem oneself. It's too late for Park. But let's not lose sight of what is really at risk. "Miracle of the Han River" had its flaws as economic success took priority over the general public. As a result many social issues were borne that need urgent attention and public education. There is so much anger as underlying current that itself makes us vulnerable. I hope Korea can find a solution with compromise and solid steps toward progress and put this behind us all. But let's not lose sight of what's really at risk. My worst fear is that South Korea could be another Syria and forgotten to the world. That would be a tragedy that our neighbors would not want either.

Kim Joong Geun

A tragic, but clear proof that democracy is alive and well in Korea. Something that we will not see in China for decades to come as Xie will try and succeed prolonging his presidency against the Party and State rules. It would be superfluous to mention that people of China have no say in its government and governing unlike Koreans.

Um, yeah. So the people in South Korea are no better off than in North Korea, or the PRC? I don't think so.
Koreans enjoy political and personal freedom, a high standard of living, and living in a society that is by any definition 'rich'. If anything, it is overly meritocratic - hence the academic competition that is the bane of Korean youth.
BTW, I don't recall starving millions of people to death and running a vast gulag system as being part of Korean 'traditionalism'. Meanwhile, that terrible dystopia of the ROK - I guess "K-Pop" is just some sort of cry for help?
As far as Sumsung running the country - they DO have too much influence. But since the Chairman of Samsung is now under indictment, it is clear that the Chaebol are not above the law. Try indicting Xi Jingping or Kim Jong-un in their respective countries, and see what happens.
In conclusion, you are either a troll being paid by one of the regional dictatorships, or you simply don't know what you are talking about.

guest-snjnsje in reply to guest-ajmeoomn

I hear you and feel your anger and pain. Unfortunately, the balance of power has shifted for sure. The boundaries of truth and deception is clear for sure. However, light and darkness have grey borders of change. Fact is that we can't turn back time. We can only move forward and think of the future for the next generation. As much as we want to believe that the good always win, that's not true. As much as we believe that Justice should always prevail, that is also not true. At least from what I can observe in my short life and what I have read in history. There is as much evil and injustice that prevail. However, this does not deter us from trying to do the right thing and find solutions to find harmony and peace in this world and in our lives.
What I want to see from the new government? Road maps and vision for a better Korea. At the same time, let's not forget that the leaders that we selected truly love their nations and have lived one's mandate to the best of his/her ability which is more than what any of us can say for ourselves in their shoes. We should celebrate and honor their efforts and show some respect for their achievements rather than criticize their every fault, punish them for every blemishes. They are human afterall.
I am not minimizing the pain of injustice, and the wronged, that in time should be addressed appropriately or history show how deep the wounds can get and result in irrevocable deep ravines. I pray that Korean leadership have the wisdom to find a path to co-exist. Nothing is perfect. Compromises must be made. Last week, the impeachment was a big one, so in return I want to see a road map for a better Korea. That is the mandate for the new government that takes office in 2 months. The people have a right to demand at least that in my opinion. In return, the people should let them do their job and not criticize their every move and place road blocks at every corner.


Having spent some time in the ROK, working for some Chaebol, I always admired the fact that no one is above the law. Ex-presidents and powerful Chaebol family members have all paid the price for crimes. That is not something you can say about the United States of America, though, I wish it were so.

If precedence is anything to go on, Park is in big trouble.


When Park was elected, I predicted that she will screw Korea and be thrown out by angry people. This is exactly what happens. Being a daughter of fascist dictator, Park knows nothing but corrupt dictatorship. But time has changed from her father's days. That's why she got this trouble. She will soon be imprisoned as a felony criminal. What a change!
It's time North Koreans impeach Kim Jong Un for murder of his brother!


A structural problem of South Korea's system is the overwhelming power of the family holdings (the Chaebol) over all political, economic and social matters of the country. The whole nation is run by around 30 Chaebol (Samsung alone is responsible for 20% of S.Korea's GDP) who can veto or shape any policy, or bring up and down politicians according to their own corporate interests. Furthermore, as you can eye-witness this in the country, there's little room left for small businesses to thrive and prosper, either they end up co-opted by the holdings or destroyed by this corrupt system.
North Korea might well be a totalitarian-militaristic nightmare with communist make-up (Juche as ideology has way more influence from Korean traditionalism than Marxism), but the South is, according my humble perspective, a capitalist-militaristic dystopia (nonexistent social welfare, overpowered corporations, excessive securitization and very limited individual freedoms).
Let's see whom would be appointed as the new puppet by the Chaebol.


When Ms Park was elected I, an expat, told that I would never visit South Korea during the tenure of her presidency, which is 5 years. My reason; she is uneducated unlike what people at large believe, shallow in knowledge, is duplicitous and very vindictive. Not to mention she may have been suffering from quasi PTSD with consequent fear of meeting people (she had to witness the violent deaths of both parents and was herself attacked since she entered politic). It's a shame that the political party, called themselves conservative (to me more like fascist, but nonetheless), which was founded under her father, is now utterly discredited and destroyed by her paranoid vindictive acts since she became president. She is now impeached as she should but I don't see myself rejoicing, because so much energy of the country has been drained by her ignorant mischief on economic and diplomatic policies in the past four years that resulted in immense suffering of Korean people.

New Freetrader in reply to bumfromk0rea

Really? I don't quite recall Park running on a 'necromancer' platform, so I am not sure how your comment is relevant to her election - it was facts like that that ending up torpedoing her.

At the same time, to be fair, I am sure that Xi Jingping burns joss sticks to communicate with HIS dead relatives and Christians and Moslems around the world look to their God for guidance. We don't yet live in a post-religion world. Park was impeached because of Choi's influence, not because of her religious practices.

The Godly Wonk

"The sovereignty of the Republic of Korea shall reside in the people, and all state authority shall emanate from the people" stated in the Article 2 of the constitution. South Korea set an excellent example for Democracy and its institutions.

New Freetrader in reply to guest-ajmeoomn

Actually, this is a great example of South Korean democracy and proves that it is working. Koreans should be proud. The local dictators are, and will be, more nervous, because their citizens can see that in South Korea no one is above law. Park's impeachment is a tragedy for herself and her party, but it is certainly well deserved, and it will strengthen Korea's democracy.


No evidence for impeachment is mentioned in verdict. Clever! or Nonsense!
Ordinary people will come to ask for what she is fired?
TE writes minority older generations. Oh! 45% of voters are minority?
Hundreds of allegations in the form of fake news,most turned out to be false. Somebody, still mysterious,behind plays real clever.
She is sort of walking ten million people character. So what power she will get is yet to be seen. TE writing of "stripped of her powers" is just TE's wish.
Two clear things come to mind.
1. Kim of NK has got a little more time to finish ICBM.
2.China knows what this is. China will never embrace democracy, free media, free internet.

Kim77 in reply to AlecFahrin

Correct decision it was. You may be right that much may not change, but letting Park go for such an egregious breach of her presidential oath would have been incredibly harmful for Korea.

AlecFahrin in reply to Kim Joong Geun

I don't see how your comment is relevant.

In my opinion, just because the president was finally impeached, does not mean that the people hold the power.

Ms. Park was at 15-20% in opinion polls for 2 years after the ferry disaster. It wasn't until certain independent investigators found a crime that the National Assembly finally found the guts to impeach her.

8 South Korean presidents in a row have been investigated/indicted for corruption, shot, impinged on freedom of speech/assembly, or ordered massacres of their civilians.

Maybe South Korean "democracy" needs to start picking better leaders.

bumfromk0rea in reply to New Freetrader

Letting a necromancer (literally, Choi practiced necromancy and told the president that she communes with the spirit of the president's dead mom) take over state policy is the literal opposite of "fairly mainstream" policies.

bumfromk0rea in reply to guest-ajmeoomn

In case you haven't noticed, this one is an example of Korea's version of Trump supporters. Hopefully, this 틀딱 씹새끼 will one day realize that fascists like him will always lose to democracy, and his deceptions will never cloud the truth.