South Korea will learn the fate of Park Geun-hye presidency on March 10 morning.
The Constitutional Court is contemplating when to announce its historic ruling on the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye, expected between Friday and Monday.
The court’s eight justices kept silent on when they will deliver their verdict after closed-door deliberations Wednesday, prompting speculation about this.
The court is apparently seeking to make a decision before the end of March 13 (Monday), the day acting court President Lee Jung-mi retires. With her gone, the court’s ruling will lose weight and credibility because of two vacancies following the earlier retirement of former court President Park Han-chul.
Park Han-chul said the decision should be made by then, and the remaining justices have clearly tried hard to fend off any attempt to delay this ruling date at hearings.
Most law experts therefore believe the date will be either Friday or Monday despite its delayed announcement.
The court usually gives three days notice before a ruling. For example, it announced May 11, 2004, that it would deliver a ruling on the impeachment of former President Roh Moo-hyun three days later.
But the law does not say anything about when ruling notice should be made.
In 2014, the court gave notice two days before a ruling on the Unified Progressive Party. Thus, in theory, the court can give a notification even a day before.
With many things uncertain, speculation abounds about why the justices are keeping silent about the ruling date. Some believe the justices have not reached an agreement yet, while others say they probably just want to minimize social confusion in the meantime by giving a short notice.
Although nothing is clear at this point, few experts believe the ruling will be made after the acting court president’s retirement.
Supporters of President Park apparently do not want to see the ruling anytime soon. Every day, dozens of protesters gather in front of the court, calling on the judges to delay the ruling and, if not, reject the impeachment.
Kim Pyung-woo, one of the President’s lawyers, told Park supporters and reporters that acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn should appoint candidates to the missing spots and the ruling should be delayed until the court is completely filled.
“A ruling made by eight justices is not effective,” Kim claimed. On the previous day at the same place, he criticized former independent counsel Park Young-soo, who concluded that the President colluded with her friend Choi Soon-sil in committing many crimes, including bribery.
If less than three out of the eight judges vote against impeachment, Park will be removed from the presidency permanently. But if more do she will retain her post.