South Korea’s impeachment process is a long and complicated one. The 300-member National Assembly is expected to vote on an impeachment bill before December 9, when the current legislative session ends.
Two thirds of them need to vote yes for President Park Geun-hye to be impeached. At present, there are 172 opposition and independent lawmakers who want her removed, which means they need 28 of the remaining 128 from Park’s conservative Saenuri Party to join them. Several have already said that they will, while there have been reports in Seoul of up to 40 legislators willing to break ranks.
But even the lawmakers are successful in forcing Park from office, she would only be suspended while the Constitutional Court has 180 days to rule on whether her impeachment was justified. In the interim, the country’s Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn would become acting president.
If needs six of the nine-judge court panel to support impeachment for Park to go, after which the country will have 60 days to elect a successor. However, if fewer than six are in favor, she will immediately return to power.