South Korea's Constitution Court ruled to uphold the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye on Friday morning, making her the first democratically elected president to be removed from office in the country's history.
In a televised ruling, acting chief justice Lee Jung-mi said Park's "violation of the country's constitution and law were grave enough to warrant her permanent ouster".
South Korea's constitutional court will decide whether the impeached president should lose her seat in office or be reinstated in a hearing that is expected to last for about an hour.
25 Feb, 2013: Ms Park is sworn in as the first female president of South Korea. Ms Park will now come under intense scrutiny from prosecutors, with no presidential immunity to protect her.
Park allegedly worked with her to extort millions from businesses; a more sensational version has the now-former president essentially under the control of that friend, who is the daughter of a cult leader.
Even after the election, imprisoning Park could still be a burden for a new government, which must pursue national unity to overcome security, economic and other problems, said Chung Jin-young, a professor at Kyung Hee University. The current favorite to win the vote is Moon Jae-In.
Park was impeached by South Korean lawmakers in December with a massive majority after it was reported that she had become influenced by Choi Soon-sil, the key person of interest in a comprehensive corruption investigation.
"And also I think the relations between China and South Korea are deteriorating because of the imminent deployment of the THAAD anti-missile system". Park supporters, gathered near Seoul's Constitutional Court and reportedly numbering in the thousands, were hemmed by a ring of police officers and vehicles.
Some South Koreans saw the apparent mistake as a sign of Lee's dedication to her work.
While both sides have remained largely peaceful so far, there are growing concerns about the impact of the court's decision, which will be broadcast live from 11 a.m. (0200GMT) Friday. He lost to Park in the 2012 election and has been gaining popularity during throughout the impeachment scandal. One of the contentious issues in the case before the constitutional Court was whether Park fulfilled her duty as president on the day of the Sewol tragedy. She had refused to undergo questioning, saying as a sitting leader she was legally immune from prosecution. We will continue to work with South Korea.