South Korean President Park Geun-hye has decided not to attend a final hearing of the constitutional court, which is deliberating Park’s impeachment motion, local media reported on Sunday.
The final hearing is scheduled to be held Monday. The court had asked the impeached leader to decide whether to appear at the last pleading session by Sunday to testify in court as a defendant.
During the first pleading session on Jan 3, the impeached president refused to appear in court.
Under the constitution, the defendant is not obliged to appear at the hearing, but possibility had been raised for Park to testify as the previous sessions were not favorable to her.
Instead, Park’s legal team was quoted as saying that her written statement would be submitted to the court. They haven’t given any detail on the reason for nonattendance.
The court’s ruling on the impeachment bill, which was passed in the parliament on Dec. 9, is widely forecast to be made around March 13, the date when the acting chief justice is set to retire. It takes 10-14 days for the court to reach a final conclusion following the final session.
To uphold the motion, at least six of the remaining eight justices are required to approve it. The retirement of one more judge can danger the legitimacy of the court’s decision. The former chief judge resigned in late January as his tenure ended.
President Park is suspected of allowing her longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil, who is a private citizen and has no public position, to meddle in state affairs behind the scenes and take bribes from business conglomerates.
Park has been identified by prosecutors as an accomplice to Choi, who is at the center of the corruption scandal that led to Park’s impeachment. Enditem