South Korean President Park Geun-hye was ousted on Friday as the country's head of state after the constitutional court upheld a motion to impeach the scandal-scarred leader.
The court's acting Chief Justice Lee Jung-mi read the ruling on the impeachment, broadcast live nationwide, saying it was the unanimous decision of eight justices.
By law, the court's ruling takes effect immediately after the reading. Park will be required to leave the presidential Blue House as she officially lost all of her presidential power as well as her title as the incumbent president.
President Park became the first South Korean leader to be forcibly removed from office through the impeachment. She was also the second president to be impeached in the country's constitutional history.
Park's crisis resulted from a series of political scandals followed by waves of protests from South Korean people.
In September 2016, Choi Soon-sil, Park's longtime confidant since mid-1970s, was exposed to be involved in the creation of Mir and K-Sports foundations. Choi allegedly exerted her influence over a swift approval of Mir and K-Sports and a fund-raising of tens of millions of U.S. dollars stemming from donations of the country's major conglomerates such as Samsung and Hyundai.
In October, Choi was reported to have exerted her influence in order to gain preferable treatment for her daughter to be enrolled in one of South SKorea's top universities.
On Oct. 24, local cable channel JTBC reported that Choi had the president's speeches in a computer even before Park's actual public delivery. The story fueled speculations about Choi's editing of the president's speech, who has no official title in public office but is suspected of being involved in state affairs.
On Oct. 25, Park apologized to the public and told a press conference that Choi played a role during her presidential election campaign in 2012 by expressing her opinions on how Park's campaign can be felt among the public. Park said she also received assistance from Choi in the same way for some of her speeches and promotional activities.
On Oct. 29, nearly 10,000 people gathered in downtown Seoul to protest against Park and called for her resignation. Since then people rallied in Seoul almost every weekend to continue their protests.
On Nov. 17, the South Korean parliament agreed to a special prosecution bill on Choi's interference in state affairs and an investigative counsel appointment.
On Dec. 3, 171 opposition and independent legislators put forward a historic bill to impeach Park, marking the second impeachment proposal since the country's constitutional government was launched about seven decades ago.
On Dec. 9, the impeachment bill was overwhelmingly passed in the parliament, as 234 legislator voted for the impeachment. Some 62 ruling Saenuri Party members are estimated to have voted "Yes." The case will be handled by constitutional court. Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn served as the acting president after Park was temporarily relieved of her post.
On Dec. 21, a special group of prosecutors initiated the investigation on Choi's interference in state affairs. Suspects related to the case had been summoned with their homes and offices being searched.
On Jan. 1. 2017, Park denied at a press conference all allegations on her involvement in the scandal. She also complained about distorted media speculations over the scandal, saying those false accusations have gotten out of control.
On Jan. 3, the South Korean constitutional court started the first trial on a parliamentary motion to impeach Park, but Park refused to appear in the court.
On Feb. 28, the special prosecutors branded Park as a criminal suspect for bribery charge in collusion with Choi. But the special prosecutors had to finish their investigation after acting president Hwang Kyo-ahn refused to extend the probe period.
On March 6, the special prosecutors said Park had ordered support for the power transfer of Samsung Group. Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong has been taken into custody as he is suspected of paying tens of millions of U.S. dollars in bribes to Choi, in return for the national pension fund's support for the merger in 2015 of two Samsung affiliates.