In this March 1, 2016, file photo, South Korean President Park Geun-hye leaves after a ceremony to celebrate the March First Independence Movement Day, the anniversary of the 1919 uprising against Japanese colonial rule, in Seoul, South Korea. Hundreds of police officers, reporters and supporters of the ousted president have gathered near her Seoul home in anticipation of her return from the presidential palace. An official from the presidential Blue House said Sunday, March 12, 2017, that there was a possibility that Park would leave during the evening, two days after the country’s Constitutional Court removed her from office over a corruption scandal.
AP/Ahn Young-joon, File
South Korea's ousted leader leaves presidential palace
Kim Tong-Hyung (Associated Press) - March 12, 2017 - 7:10pm

SEOUL, South Korea  — Ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye left the presidential palace on Sunday evening, two days after the country's Constitutional Court removed her from office over a massive corruption scandal.

South Korean television showed Park's motorcade leaving the Blue House and heading for her private home in southern Seoul, where hundreds of police officers, reporters and supporters were gathered in anticipation of her arrival.

The Constitutional Court formally removed Park from office on Friday, upholding an impeachment motion filed by lawmakers in December amid suspicions that she colluded with a confidante to extort money and favors from companies and allowed the friend to secretly manipulate state affairs.

The ruling ended a power struggle that had consumed the nation for months and marked a stunning downfall for Park, who convincingly defeated her liberal opponent in 2012 with overwhelming support from older South Koreans, who remembered her dictator father as a hero.

Hundreds of Park's supporters stood near her private home for hours on Sunday before she vacated the Blue House. They waved the South Korean flag and photos of Park and her late father, Park Chung-hee, singing the national anthem and shouting "Nullify impeachment!"

Members of Park's conservative party also gathered at her home.

Workers were earlier seen unloading a television, washing machine, bed and other household items from trucks and carrying them into Park's house.

Park no longer has immunity from prosecution and may face criminal charges including extortion, bribery and abuse of power.

She has not made a public statement since Friday's court ruling. She earlier apologized for putting trust in her jailed friend, Choi Soon-sil, but strongly denied any legal wrongdoing.

South Korea now has to elect a new president by early May. Opinion polls show liberal Moon Jae-in, who lost to Park in 2012, as the favorite to become the country's next leader.

KOREAN PRESIDENT PARK GEUN-HYE SOUTH KOREA
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