If removed, Park would lose W12M monthly pay

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If removed, Park would lose W12M monthly pay

President Park Geun-hye will lose a lot if she gets impeached and is forced to resign by the Constitutional Court, including her hefty pension.

If the National Assembly impeaches Park and the Constitutional Court approves it, she will immediately step down, South Korea’s first president to resign in such a way. Afterward, Park will not be eligible for the more than 12 million won ($10,269) monthly pension she would otherwise be entitled to. Under the law on protocols for former presidents, a former president is eligible to a pension worth 95 percent of his or her yearly salary while in office. Under the ordinance on presidential yearly salary, it is defined as his or her monthly salary multiplied by 8.85, instead of 12.

Taking into account that Park received 212 million won this year, she will be entitled to over 160 million won in yearly pension if she becomes a private citizen without facing impeachment. If a former president dies, his or her spouse qualify for a pension worth 70 percent of the presidential salary. Former presidents can also have three personal secretaries paid for by the state as well as a chauffeur.

The government is also required to provide financial assistance for former presidents’ political legacy projects. Former presidents are also entitled to receive security that also covers their direct family members as well as medical care.

But even if Park avoids impeachment and resigns on her own, she could still lose perquisites if she gets convicted of various charges for which she was named an accomplice with her controversial friend Choi Soon-sil by prosecutors and is sentenced to a prison term. The law also stipulates that a president who seeks asylum overseas to escape criminal prosecution will lose special rights.

Among the surviving former South Korean presidents, only Lee Myung-bak, Park’s predecessor, is eligible for state-funded perquisites. Two other surviving former presidents, Chun Doo Hwan and Roh Tae-woo, were stripped of entitlements after being convicted of various crimes including rebellion against the state and bribery. Chun was sentenced to life in prison while his successor was given a 17-year-prison term by the Supreme Court in 1996. The two were released on a special presidential pardon on Dec. 22, 1997, ending two years behind bars.

Chun and Roh, however, have been receiving basic security by the police while being denied all other post-presidential treatments. President Park would also be qualified for the basic protection program even if she is forced to step down or sentenced to prison.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]

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