All eyes on Blue House as SKorea awaits Park move

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SEOUL: All eyes were on Seoul’s presidential Blue House Saturday as South Koreans awaited ex-president Park Geun-Hye’s reaction to her impeachment and preparations to move into her private residence.

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News reports said Park was watching TV alone in her private presidential room Friday when the Constitutional Court announced her dismissal live on air.

An incredulous Park immediately phoned her aides to confirm the verdict, the Chosun Ilbo daily said.

Her aides said Park had no immediate plans to issue a statement on whether she accepts the court decision and on her future course of action.

“The president was apparently stunned at the ruling. She looked dejected”, an unidentified aide was quoted as saying by the daily.

“She wants to keep to herself for a while”, he added.

Park will leave the Blue House only after her private house in prosperous southern Seoul is repaired and cleaned to accommodate her and her security detail.

TV footage showed materials being unloaded from a small truck parked outside the two-storey house, with journalists and photographers milling round.

Police said more than 200 officers were deployed around the area.

Park is obliged to move out of the presidential palace, where she has been holed up for more than 90 days after the National Assembly voted for her impeachment in October.

The constitutional court’s verdict upholding her impeachment immediately strips her of all powers and privileges, except for her security.

Park was found to have broken the law by allowing her friend Choi Soon-Sil to meddle in state affairs, and breached rules on public servants’ activities.

The ruling also strips her of presidential immunity to criminal indictment.

Park has already been named a criminal suspect, accused of bribery for offering policy favours to firms that benefited Choi.

For months she has refused to make herself available for questioning by prosecutors probing the scandal.

But that may no longer be an option once she leaves the Blue House, when she could face formal arrest if she refuses a summons. AFP

AFP/CC

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