South Korean parliament votes to impeach President Park Geun-hye

Hundreds of thousands of people have protested against the president in recent months over an alleged corruption scandal

South Korean parliament votes to impeach President Park Geun-hye

People watch a TV screen showing the live broadcast of South Korean President Park Geun-hye's addressing to the nation last month. Picture by Ahn Young-joon AP/Press Association Images

South Korea's parliament has voted to impeach President Park Geun-hye and suspend her powers over a corruption scandal.

The constitutional court will now decide whether to uphold the motion and remove the president from office, or reject it and reinstate her.

Ms Park is accused of acting as a criminal accomplice for her friend Choi Soon-sil, who has been indicted on criminal charges including extortion and abuse of official power, according to prosecutors.

Ms Choi is accused of coercing more than $60m (€56m) from businesses and meddling in state affairs.

Massive protests have taken place in the capital Seoul every Saturday for the past six weeks to call for her resignation.

Opinion polls show overwhelming support for Park to go, and the parliamentary vote was also left no doubt and was passed 234 to 56.

Under the South Korean constitution, prosecutors cannot indict the president on criminal charges - except insurrection or treason - while they are still in office.

Park has previously denied any wrongdoing, but apologised to the nation.

Her five-year term was due to end in February 2018.

South Korea's finance minister is planning an emergency meeting later on Friday to discuss the crisis and its impact on financial markets.