SEOUL – Disgraced South Korean leader Park Geun-hye left the presidential Blue House on Sunday, two days after a court dismissed her over a corruption scandal, facing life as a private citizen and the possibility of jail.
Park struck a defiant tone upon arriving at her private home in the Gangnam district of the capital, Seoul, after leaving the Blue House compound in a motorcade of fast-driving black cars, flanked by police motorbikes.
“I feel sorry that I could not finish the mandate given to me as president,” a spokesman for Park, member of parliament Min Kyung-wook, quoted her as saying.
“It will take time, but I believe the truth will be revealed,” Park said in her first public comments since her dismissal.
She accepted responsibility for the events that culminated in the Constitutional Court on Friday upholding a parliamentary impeachment vote over an influence-peddling scandal that has shaken the political and business elite.
“I take responsibility for the outcome of all this,” Min quoted her as saying.
Park, 65, is South Korea’s first democratically elected leader to be forced from office.
A snap presidential election will be held by May 9.
Her dismissal followed months of political paralysis and turmoil over the scandal that also landed the head of the Samsung conglomerate in jail and facing trial.
The crisis has coincided with rising tension with North Korea and anger from China over the deployment in South Korea of a U.S. missile-defence system.
Throngs of flag-waving supporters crowded the street outside Park’s home as she arrived there about 30 minutes after leaving the presidential palace.
She waved through her car’s tinted window as it inched its way down the street, with security men in suits walking alongside.
She stepped out smiling, the public’s first glimpse of her since her dismissal, and greeted supporters.