The Constitutional Court’s initial hearing on Tuesday was curtailed after Ms Geun-Hye failed to attend.
Seoul: The impeachment trial of South Korea’s President Park Geun-Hye got under way on Thursday with her lawyers arguing there is no evidence to back the corruption allegations that threaten to force her from office.
Parliament voted to impeach Ms Geun-Hye last month over an influence-peddling scandal that has brought hundreds of thousands of protesters onto the streets every week demanding her removal.
Ms Geun-Hye is accused of colluding with a longtime friend, Choi Soon-Sil, to strong-arm donations worth tens of millions of dollars from top firms which were then funnelled to dubious foundations.
The president is also accused of using her influence to ensure the merger of two Samsung units in 2015 to help facilitate a father-to-son power succession of Samsung’s founding family, allegedly in return for bribes given to Ms Soon-Sil
The National Assembly, which must have its vote upheld by the Constitutional Court, accused Ms Geun-Hye of a “serious breach of the constitution” during the first full hearing in the impeachment case.
“The court is requested to fire the president so that impaired constitutional order can be restored,” said Kwon Seong-Dong, a lawmaker representing Parliament. “The president has betrayed the trust and mandate from the people.”
The Constitutional Court’s initial hearing on Tuesday was curtailed after Ms Geun-Hye failed to attend. It decided to proceed on Thursday regardless of whether she was present.
Her lawyers said there was no proof Ms Geun-Hye had issued any directive, oral or written, to tell her aides to ensure the National Pension Fund — the largest shareholder of one of the two Samsung units — voted for the merger. They urged the court to overturn the impeachment vote, saying the motion had been based on “likelihood at best” and insisted she be reinstated as president immediately.
“There is no solid evidence to back the impeachment,” her lawyer Lee Jung-Hwan told the court.