What Now? Court Ruling Triggers Early Presidential Election

What Now? Court Ruling Triggers Early Presidential Election

Ben Jackson
Ben Jackson

By upholding Park Geun-hye’s impeachment on Friday morning, the Constitutional Court has opened a new chapter in South Korean political history. But while Park’s opponents and supporters come to terms with the decision, an unprecedented series of events has been set in motion.

Here, ké radar offers a projected timeline of what’s likely to happen in the coming days and weeks. Many of these dates are not definite, because they are based on tentative research by the National Election Commission. 

Mar. 10

Shortly before 11:30am, Park Geun-hye was stripped of her powers and became a private citizen as soon as the Constitutional Court announced its decision.

For now, conservative former prosecutor and Park ally Hwang Kyo-ahn continues to occupy two positions: acting president and prime minister.

By Mar. 20

Acting president Hwang must announce the date for the presidential election, which must take place some time within 60 days of the Constitutional Court’s decision.

Hwang himself is expected by many to declare his candidacy for the election. If he does, he must resign as acting president and prime minister at least 30 days before the declared election date.

If Hwang resigns as acting president, the position will be filled by Yoo Il-ho, deputy prime minister and minister of strategy and finance.

Apr. 15-16

Candidates selected in primaries register for the presidential election.

Current polls suggest Moon Jae-in is in a strong position to win the main opposition Minjoo Party primary.

Acting president Hwang Kyo-ahn, though he has not yet declared a bid for the presidency, is the highest-polling conservative candidate (though a Gallup poll from the second week of March measured his support rate at 9%, far behind Moon Jae-in’s 32%).

Apr. 17

Election campaign period begins.

May 9

Probable election day. Once inaugurated, the new president will begin a regular five-year term.


Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article mistakenly said Park Geun-hye became a civilian after the court ruling. In a presidential system, a president is a civilian. We have corrected the wording to “private citizen.” 

Cover Image: the Constitutional Court of Korea (source: Wikipedia)

Ben Jackson wrote this radar report.

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