South Korean President Park Geun-hye is possibly the only president in her country's history to yearn for impeachment. With hundreds of thousands of people in the streets demanding her resignation, her own party edging away and prosecutors naming her as a suspect in a criminal investigation, impeachment could be a port in a storm. It could give her time to pray for public opinion to shift, protestors to tire or the courts to overturn the charge. But what happens next in South Korea's escalating political turmoil is a question that no one is asking and no one can answer.
What has become known as "Choi-gate" began in mid-October, when it was revealed that Park's longtime friend, Choi Soon-sil, had used her ties to the presidential Blue House to bully 53 conglomerates -- including Samsung, Hyundai and SK -- to make roughly $66 million worth of donations to two non-profit organizations, possibly in exchange for favors. Evidence suggests that Choi edited presidential speeches, struck arms deals, ran the culture ministry, and helped appoint intelligence and financial chiefs, the prime minister and 21 vice ministers. Choi's late father, a close confidant of Park's, founded a religious cult, prompting allegations that Park had become a brainwashed puppet.