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Impeachment vote to have limited impact on economy, markets: finance minister

South Korea's chief economic policymaker said Sunday that the impeachment of the country's president will have a limited impact on the economy, as well as the financial markets, vowing to implement current economic policies in a consistent mode.  

Last week, the country's parliament overwhelmingly voted to impeach President Park Geun-hye, immediately suspending her authority. There have been concerns that Asia's fourth-largest economy, currently faced with a protracted slump at home and abroad, may be thrown into further turmoil after the impeachment.

"The impact following the impeachment seems to have had a limited impact on the market, and I promise that I, as a control tower for the economy, will manage the economy through close cooperation with related agencies," Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho told foreign correspondents here.

Millions of Korean citizens have staged candlelight vigils in recent weeks, calling for Park's ouster and thorough investigations into a corruption scandal involving Park's confidante and aides.

Right after Park's presidency was suspended Friday, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn stood in as president. The Constitutional Court has to rule within six months whether Park's presidency should end permanently or she is reinstated.

Yoo said South Korea has clear-cut procedures during the post-impeachment period, so that there are no concerns about chaos.

"The economy is faced with an array of uncertainties, including a U.S. rate hike and policy shifts in the new U.S. government, but we will manage the economy by maintaining economic policies in a consistent manner," Yoo said.

"As was seen in the past, South Korea has overcome numerous crises, namely as the 1997 financial crisis and the 2008 crisis, but all citizens joined forces to tackle them and take a leap forward," the minister said.

On Friday, the finance ministry also said that the government will take swift and stern steps, if necessary, to contain any volatility in the financial market.

South Korea's stock and foreign-exchange markets ended without showing any volatile moves Friday as Park was widely expected to be impeached in the vote and the expectations were already factored in the market.

The Bank of Korea also said the impeachment would have a limited impact on the economy, noting South Korea's economy is mainly affected by external factors, not the impeachment decision.

Still, some investment banks believe the impeachment decision has lifted some political uncertainty and won't undermine confidence in the South Korean economy, according to the central bank.

The central bank, however, added that a prolonged power vacuum could increase downside risks in the economy, citing some foreign investment banks. (Yonhap)

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