In South Korea, Election Looms as Ex-President Sits in Jail

In December, lawmakers voted to impeach her, and she was formally removed from office on March 10.

Ms. Park has been living in the Seoul Detention Center since she was arrested on March 31. The charges against her include bribery, extortion and abuse of power.

But as the country prepares to vote on Tuesday to elect her successor, Ms. Park, 65, is not forgotten; her name still stirs raw emotions among both her critics and supporters.

Many South Korean liberals and progressives view the election as another opportunity to discredit her and punish her conservative allies. Moon Jae-in, a progressive opposition leader and a political nemesis of Ms. Park, is favored to win the election, according to recent surveys.

But many conservatives still consider her to be innocent.

Since she arrived at the jail in Uiwang, south of Seoul, a small group of die-hard supporters has been rallying in front of it every day. Police barricades and roadside trees were plastered with banners and slogans calling for her release.

“Dear President Park Geun-hye, we love you,” one read. “Please hang in there. We stand by you.”

Cho Won-jin, a minor conservative presidential candidate, began his campaign last month by kneeling in front of the jail house and bowing in Ms. Park’s direction.

Hong Joon-pyo, a conservative who is currently second or third in the polls, said that if elected, he would pardon her.

Mr. Hong roiled the campaign recently by saying that Ms. Park had fallen gravely ill, while Mr. Cho claimed that she was on a hunger strike.

Photo

A street in Seoul is hung with campaign posters for South Korean presidential candidates. The election is Tuesday.

Credit
Ed Jones/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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