Conservative South Koreans rally to support Park

Supporters of South Korean President Park Geun Hye, who has been impeached over a corruption scandal, rally for her reinstatement, countering weeks of large protests calling on her to step down immediately.

SEOUL (REUTERS) - Supporters of South Korean President Park Geun Hye, who has been impeached over a corruption scandal, rallied on Saturday (Dec 17) for her reinstatement, countering weeks of large protests calling on her to step down immediately.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters have thronged the streets of Seoul on recent weekends, demanding her resignation over the influence-peddling scandal involving a close friend.

Park's presidential powers have been suspended since a Dec 9 impeachment vote in parliament was passed by a wide margin, which set the stage for her to become South Korea's first elected leader to be thrown out of office. The Constitutional Court must first uphold the motion.

Park is accused of colluding with long-time friend Choi Soon Sil, who has been indicted and is in custody, to pressure big businesses to make contributions to non-profit foundations backing presidential initiatives.

She has denied wrongdoing but apologised for carelessness in her ties with Choi.

If the impeachment is upheld or Park steps down voluntarily, a new election has to be held in 60 days to pick a new leader who will serve a single five-year term. Park's term was originally set to end in Feb 2018.