[op-ed snap] End of a chapter

Context:

  1. Removal of a sitting President in South Korea
  2. This brings to a close one phase in the months-long popular mobilisation to enforce accountability among the high and mighty

The removal:

  1. The verdict by South Korea’s highest court, upholding Parliament’s vote to impeach Park Geun-hye
  2. This could well herald a new era in a land where it has for long been unthinkable to get the powerful to face justice even for serious crimes
  3. Parliament’s move in December to unseat Ms. Park by an overwhelming vote had been backed even by legislators from her conservative Saenuri party

What next?

  1. Stripped of presidential immunity, Ms. Park could now face criminal proceedings on allegations that she was complicit in nefarious activities involving her close confidante
  2. The chief accusation is that they solicited contributions to promote dodgy non-profit organisations in return for clearing questionable corporate deals

Ms. Park:

  1. The protests last year by hundreds of thousands who sought action in the influence-peddling scandal
  2. There were violent clashes that followed judicial verdict. This is an indication of how polarising a figure Ms. Park has been through her tenure since 2013
  3. Her autocratic and whimsical rule was marked by fierce attacks on labour unions, smear campaigns against critics, and efforts to rewrite history textbooks
  4. The most provocative foreign policy move was the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence, an American missile defence system, escalating regional tensions
  5. China retaliated with calls for the boycott of South Korean imports

Polarization tactics:

  1. The divisions among her followers and detractors are as much ideological as they are intergenerational
  2. A number of Ms. Park’s party supporters continue to harbour sympathies for the daughter of South Korea’s moderniser, the military dictator Park Chung-hee
  3. Younger generations see the severing of all links with this authoritarian past as a necessary guarantee for the consolidation of democracy, three decades after return to civilian rule
  4. The chaebols– South Korea’s highly influential family-owned conglomerates- may have had economic motivations to lean heavily on political patronage during the country’s industrial ascendency and integration into the global market

Notable demands:

  1. There are ongoing criminal proceedings involving tycoons from its best-known corporations
  2. The recent assertion of the independence of the judiciary from political interference and the capacity of legislators to uphold their authority are notable
  3. It would be no surprise, therefore, if South Korea’s example becomes a model worthy of emulation elsewhere in the region
  4. South Koreans are due to elect their next President by May — and by all indications, they are seeking to strengthen the country’s democratic institutions

Note4Students:

Compare the impeachment process of India and South Korea in b2b. Make notes for Prelims. Comparison of Constitutional schemes is a topic in GS-2 mains syllabus.

Back2Basics:

Impeachment in South Korea:

  1. The 300-member National Assembly votes on the impeachment bill
  2. If 200 members vote yes, the National Assembly will formally ask the Constitutional Court to impeach the President and remove him/her from office
  3. An impeachment motion must accuse an official of violating “the Constitution and the laws,” but the National Assembly is not required to prove those charges

Earlier instances:

  1. Only once, in 2004, when President Roh Moo-hyun was accused of calling on voters to support his party in parliamentary elections
  2. The calls were said to violate a law requiring the president to remain neutral in the election

India, South Korea to review free trade pact tomorrow- I

  1. Aim: To further boost bilateral trade and investment ties
  2. Review: Assessments of the benefits derived from both the countries under the existing CEPA like fresh negotiations on elimination/ reduction of duties on various products
  3. CEPA: Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement
  4. This CEPA had come into effect in 2010


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