Recently, there has been immense turmoil in South Korea, and the current state of affairs is rapidly deteriorating. Hundreds of thousands of South Korean citizens, in record numbers, have staged protests to force the resignation of President Park Geun Hye amidst an escalating corruption scandal.
Investigations and past records have revealed that Park allowed Choi Soon Sil, a close friend, to influence political decisions and interfere with Korean government affairs. Overall, the scandal shows the flaws in the political system of a country in which universal democracy was incorporated less than three decades ago, in 1987, with a revised constitution. Furthermore, the fiasco exemplifies the so-called “gray” and manipulative areas of politics in South Korea in that several government institutions and even high officials were aware of the corruption.
Another major aspect of the scandal is closely intertwined with financial assets. Choi not only exploited her close friendship with Park for political purposes, but she also was the sole benefactor of large sums of “donation” money from large corporations such as Samsung and Hyundai. Moreover, the public was more enraged when it was revealed that Choi used this recently acquired power to help her daughter graduate from high school and receive acceptance to a prestigious university. This acceptance was later annulled after the truth surfaced.
As a whole, the scandal has been further aggravated when the public learned of Park and Choi’s long relationship in which Choi essentially controlled Park in the early stages of her life several years ago. This, in turn, has led to the formation conspiracy theories regarding national security, educational policies, public speeches, and even the infamous Sewol sinking 2 years ago in which almost 300 school children perished.
Most South Korean citizens are simmering with hatred and scorn for Park, who denies such control from Choi and deems it a simple personal relationship. As of Friday, December 9, 2016, the National Assembly in South Korea has voted to impeach President Park but this may be a long and arduous process for the next six months before they can even decide whether to hold a new election for a new President.