The South Korean parliament is set to vote on the impeachment motion against President Park Geun-hye on 9 December, as she battles one of the toughest tests in her political career. Her fate hangs in the balance as the opposition and rebel lawmakers within her own party prepare to deal a blow to her in the corruption scandal that has engulfed her.
Park can be suspended immediately if at least two-thirds of the 300-member National Assembly vote in favour of the impeachment. The anti-Park brigade is still 28 parliamentarians short of an assured victory, forcing them to undertake last-ditch efforts before the vote.
Several rebel lawmakers from the ruling Saenuri Party are said to be preparing to vote against Park. Political pundits expect the motion to pass following which the country's Constitution Court would decide whether to uphold the move. This process could easily take six months although Park would stand suspended during this period leaving the prime minister to take over her duties.
Park was embroiled in a huge political scandal following accusations that her close confidante, Choe Soon-sil, used Park to gain influence. The allegations have led to serious protests across South Korea with millions of protesters demanding Park's resignation.
If the Constitutional Court upholds her impeachment, she could become the first democratically elected president in South Korea to be permanently removed from office. Former leader Roh Moo Hyun was impeached in 2004 but was later reinstated by the court.
"If impeachment fails, public anger and dissatisfaction will be heightened and people will protest even more strongly. There will be more instability and chaos," Korea University's political science professor Lee Nae Young told the Strait Times. Even if she is impeached by parliament, Park has indicated that she will not step down voluntarily and insisted on leaving the decision to the constitutional process.