South Korea’s Ousted Leader Alone, Kept in Dark on Election
South Korea’s ousted leader is expected to spend Tuesday’s presidential election alone in a solitary detention cell without any visitors.
Park Geun-hye, a former president’s daughter and president of South Korea until she was removed by the Constitutional Court on March 10, is being held at a detention center on corruption charges.
All major South Korean TV channels are broadcasting election news throughout the day, but Park will be kept in the dark for most of the time. Without visits from her lawyers or help from prison guards, she may not discover who is chosen to succeed her until Wednesday evening.
Television programs shown in prison are selected by the government, and Park’s first news about the election is likely to come when the prison TV shows its first news program at about 8 p.m. Tuesday evening, when polling stations close and vote counting starts. Before that, she might watch a scheduled documentary about the U.S. presidential system or a soap opera.
Park is asked to go to sleep at 8 p.m. and rise at 6 a.m. It’s unclear whether the prison guards will allow her to watch TV news for a few minutes before she goes to bed.
No visitors are allowed on holidays such as election day, and her contacts will be limited to prison guards, according to the detention center.
She is confined at the Seoul Detention Center in a small cell with a television, toilet, sink, table and mattress. Her government-provided meals typically consist of rice, soup, a meat dish, kimchi and a vegetable dish. She eats the $1 meal alone and does her own dishes.
Other than Park, several former South Korean presidents were shown on TV casting their ballots, including former military dictator Chun Doo-hwan and Park’s predecessor, Lee Myung-bak.
It’s not known whether Park voted by absentee ballot.