December 26, 2016 10:31
The Justice Ministry in a written opinion for the Constitutional Court on Sunday said the National Assembly bill impeaching President Park Geun-hye "meets all legal requirements."
The ministry, which has been in a pickle since prosecutors started investigating a massive corruption scandal in October that led inexorably to Park’s inner sanctum, had been asked by the court to submit an opinion on the procedural integrity of the bill.
In the 40-page statement, it said the impeachment process, from the National Assembly vote to the filing of related documents, was all done by the book.
An impeachment bill must be proposed by a majority of the National Assembly's 300 lawmakers, and more than two-thirds must vote in favor. The bill seeking to oust Park was supported by 234 lawmakers.
Park's lawyers argue that the bill violates both the Constitution and other laws by lacking "objective evidence" and failing to give the president a chance to respond.
The Justice Ministry offered no opinion on the concrete allegations against the president, noting that an independent counsel is investigating the scandal and a trial of several key suspects is underway.
Back in 2004, when then-President Roh Moo-hyun faced impeachment for alleged violation of the neutrality rule in elections, the ministry told the Constitutional Court that it did not accept the rationale of his opponents and accused the National Assembly of violating the Constitution by seeking to impeach Roh based on "trivial" remarks.
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