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South Korean president transfers power to prime minister

Earlier, the country’s parliament voted for the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye

SEOUL, December 9. /TASS/. South Korea’s Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn took over as the acting president after the country’s parliament voted earlier on Friday for the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye, the administration of the cabinet of ministers said.

"Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn has officially started fulfilling the presidential duties," the statement said. Park transferred power to him shortly after receiving an official notification about the impeachment from the National Assembly.

Hwang will later make a televised address to the nation and hold a meeting of the National Security Council. Park earlier voiced hope that Hwang and all cabinet members would make every effort to minimize the "power vacuum" and prevent unstable situation in economy and security.

Earlier on Friday, the lawmakers of South Korea’s parliament voted for the impeachment of the president. A total of 234 MPs voted "yes," 56 voted "no," another 2 abstained and 8 votes were considered as invalid. All 300 MPs were present during the vote.

The Constitutional Court has up to six months to decide whether to approve the results of the vote. Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn will temporarily fulfill the president’s duties. Early presidential elections will be held after the Constitutional Court’s ruling.

The president is accused of colluding with her close friend Choi Soon-sil, who is at the center of a high-profile corruption scandal.

On November 20, South Korea’s prosecutors charged Choi and two former officials of the presidential administration with corruption, extortion and abuse of powers. In particular, Choi was accused of forcing a number of companies to donate tens of millions of dollars to the foundations she controlled. Although this influence has not been proved, investigators believe the president was aware of these ‘donations.’