Moscow confident South Korean crisis won't affect ties between Moscow and Seoul

She now leaves her post as the first sitting president ever to be removed from office.

Not all were as pleased with the outcome, however, and some pro-Park protesters turned on police vans outside court.

Police said more than 200 officers were deployed around the area.

Park became the first democratically elected South Korean leader to be impeached.

In a televised ruling, acting chief justice Lee Jung-mi said Park's "violation of the country's constitution and law were grave enough to warrant her permanent ouster". "The benefits of protecting the constitution that can be earned by dismissing the defendant are overwhelmingly big".

The rather swift downfall of South Korea's first female president is complete.

The court's decision has initiated a snap election which has to take place within 60 days, with May 9 cited as the likely date.

-It was a striking end for South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

A spokesman said on Friday she would leave and return to her private home in Seoul.

Park was initially impeached in December following allegations she had her friend Choi Soon-il pressure big businesses to donate to two foundations set up to back Park's policy initiatives.

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The court added that Ms Park had broken the law by allowing Ms Choi to meddle in state affairs. Police in riot gear sit on top of the bus and try to ward the public away. His trial began yesterday. All have denied wrongdoing.

Two people died during protests that followed the court ruling.

The survey showed Moon to be the unrivalled front-runner, with 36 percent in support rating.

The court verdict strips Park of immunity, raising the prospect of her arrest and prosecution.

Protesters react after hearing the Constitutional Court's verdict.

Acting president and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn has warned that North Korea could use the situation as an opportunity to sow confusion, and he called for the military to be ready to respond to any provocation.

Park's critics said they would rally in central Seoul, where they have been gathering every weekend for months, while the former president's conservative supporters also planned protests, raising the risk of confrontation. "It's historic because it tells us that the people have power superior to the president - the most powerful person in the country".

"And also I think the relations between China and South Korea are deteriorating because of the imminent deployment of the THAAD anti-missile system".

North Korean state media wasted little time labelling Park a criminal. In a letter to the court, she apologized for her "carelessness" but said she never sought personal gain.


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