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The impeachment, and removal from office, of South Korean President Park Geun-hye on charges of corruption and abuse of power has rocked the country's political establishment and divided the electorate. Not since the Asian financial crisis of 1997, rooted partly in the flawed economic policies of Park's father, Park Chung-hee, have South Koreans faced such an impasse.It's still too early to know who will succeed her in the Blue House (the presidential seat); a special election has been called for May 9 . South Korea's current political crisis began in October 2016, when allegations emerged that Park had pressured the chaebols – the country's giant family-owned conglomerates – to funnel huge sums of money into two foundations controlled by her close personal friend, Choi Soon-sil. Park's removal from office almost certainly means that political power will shift from the formerly Saenuri, or "New Frontier" (now the Liberty Korea) Party to opposition forces.Whoever becomes South Korea's next president will be greeted by profound political, economic, and foreign policy challenges.Finally, and perhaps most important, the next president will face a foreign-policy puzzle that perplexed Park for most of her tenure.South Korea has experienced – and survived – political and economic upheaval before.Conservative leaders' collective inability to insulate South Korea from the events of 1997 cleared the way for a liberal opposition leader, Kim Dae-jung, to assume the presidency in 1998 .
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