Candle revolution? People real force behind South Korea’s impeachment
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to impeach scandal-ridden President Park Geun-hye, but it was the millions of people wielding nothing but candles who really forced her from power.
Park was suspended and interim power was handed over to the prime minister Friday after the National Assembly bowed to pressure from weeks of mass protests calling for her ouster.
The case now goes to the Constitutional Court, which will have up to 180 days to make a final ruling on whether to unseat her and hold early elections.
It was a stunning outcome to a saga that began in late October as revelations emerged that Park, 64, had allowed a longtime friend — the daughter of a dead religious cult leader — to wield undue influence over her decisions and speeches.
The crowds again filled Seoul’s historic Gwanghwamun Square on Saturday, celebrating the impeachment vote but also warning their job was not done. Many chanted calls for Park to step down immediately instead of waiting for the protracted legal process to play out.
“It’s just a first step. This is the power of the people,” Lee Dong-soo, 43, said as he stood with tears in his eyes near a memorial for the victims of a 2014 ferry disaster that was blamed on government lapses.
“She must resign. We need to keep pushing,” he added.