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Park snubs impeachment hearings as South Korea's highest court begins scrutiny

Park snubs impeachment hearings as South Korea's highest court begins scrutiny
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By Robert Hackwill
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South Korea's President Park stayed away from the Constitutional Court's first day of hearings into her possible impeachment.

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The impeachment hearings of South Korean President Park Geun-hye have begun, but the accused has not turned up.

The embattled leader snubbed the Constitutional Court on day one of hearings that may decide her political future, forcing the court to delay taking oral arguments. It has to validate or strike down parliament’s decision late last year to indict Park on corruption charges.

The scandal has already cost Park a sizeable group of MPs from her own ruling Conservative party. They have broken away to form a new conservative movement and say they will challenge her at the polls.

Park is accused of, among other things, using her influence to help a close personal friend and her daughter. Choi Soon-sil is under arrest, and Danish police have arrested daughter Chung Yoo-ra. South Korea is seeking her extradition.

Chung has offered to return voluntarily if offered freedom on bail, but insists any attempt to deport her will be legally contested.

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