Citizens require a leader who can provide an honorable example to follow. On November 18, 2016, South Korean citizens gathered at one of Korea’s largest protests in Seoul to call for the removal of President Park Gun-hye. Prosecutors are currently investigating Park’s involvement in coercing major companies, such as Samsung and Lotte, to “donate” large portions of money to organizations run by Park’s close friend, Choi Soon-sil.

Rather than going to the organizations, however, this money instead went straight to Choi’s family bank account. While Choi and two of Park’s presidential secretaries have already been charged with extortion and abuse of power, Park has yet to be accused, as police cannot charge her while she is still in office. While Park believes that she can evade scandal, the police and government officials cannot allow it.

Using Park as an example, South Korea can finally put a stop to its extensive history of  governmental scandals and bribery. For example, the sons of former President Kim Dae-jung both accepted bribes during their father’s time in office from 1998 to 2003. The already damaged image of Korean politics continued to worsen with the next president, Roh Moo-hyun, who was investigated by the police for taking $6 million in bribes. Then, in 2008, Lee Myung-bak’s older brother received $500,000 in exchange for granting businesses more influence over the government.

The South Korean government in its current state allows businesses and relatives close to high powered leaders to gain complete control of the country, leaving the general public unable to express its own voice. Throughout Korea’s contemporary history, bribery and abuse of power by politicians and their associates have become common and even accepted. This concept of friends and family extorting political leaders, called “pay to play,” portrays Korea in an unfavorable light and ignores the best interests of its citizens.

Friends and family of politicians constantly cheat the system and benefit from the suffering of others. The only way to put a stop to this continual theme is through the impeachment of President Park. Although Park only has fourteen months left in office, and impeachment would take at least eight months to process, this lengthy procedure is necessary to restore morality in the South Korea’s government. While many see impeachment as nonessential and a waste of time, the cycle of corruption will only continue if Park walks away unscathed. Park, like the rest of Korea’s dishonest politicians, must be held accountable for her actions. It is crucial for the future of the nation that government officials comprehend the consequences of abusing their authority.

The Koreans in power must understand that they are not the supreme rulers of their country. They cannot trade power for money or allow outside forces to influence their decision making. South Korea’s tainted government can only be fixed if the authorities demonstrate the errors in these politicians’ methods and promote honesty in the governmental system. People learn from example, and South Korea needs to provide a decent example for its citizens to believe in and follow.