Moon Jae-in, her successor, will reportedly free Park from 22-year sentence three months ahead of presidential election

Park has been serving a 22-year sentence following her impeachment in 2017 and conviction for corruption and abuse of power, after a scandal that exposed webs of double-dealing between political leaders and conglomerates.

She has since been hospitalised three times with chronic shoulder and back pain and has undergone surgery once, the Yonhap news agency said, citing her poor health as a possible factor in Moon’s decision.

“I understand that ex-president Park is included on a list of people who are to be granted pardons,” an unnamed official told the Yonhap news agency. Reports said Park would be freed on New Year’s Eve.

Her freedom could have a bearing on the 9 March presidential election, given her influence among conservative voters who are expected to back the candidate for the conservative People Power party.

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