Dec 19, 2019

What impeaching leaders looks like around the world

South Korea's constitutional court rules on President Park Geun-hye's impeachment, March 10, 2017. Photo: Kim Min-Hee/Pool/Getty Images

President Trump may only be the third American president to be impeached, but a quick look around the world might give him comfort.

By the numbers: “Since 1990, at least 132 different heads of state have faced some 272 impeachment proposals in 63 countries,” per the Economist. Most leaders survive most impeachment attempts, as Trump almost certainly will.

The history: The roots of impeachment date back to ancient Germany, but the first known instance came in England in 1376 with the removal of ministers to King Edward III, according to the Economist.

  • “The constitutions of 94% of countries with presidents include mechanisms for removing them from office. Even some countries without presidents, such as Britain, allow for impeachment.”
  • “Leaders in nearly half of the countries that transitioned to presidential democracy from the mid-1970s onwards faced threats of impeachment from the legislature between 1974 and 2003.”
  • “Several notable instances of impeachment-related departures include Brazil’s Fernando Collor (1992)... Peru’s Alberto Fujimori (2000)... the Philippines’ Joseph Estrada and Indonesia’s Abdurrahman Wahid (2001) and South Korea’s Park Geun-hye (2017).”

The criteria vary: “In Tanzania, the president can be impeached if he has ‘conducted himself in a manner which lowers the esteem of the office of president.’ Honduran presidents can be impeached for incompetence. In Ghana, disrepute, ridicule or contempt of office suffice.”

So do the procedures. In most countries, the final verdict comes from a court or constitutional council.

  • Removal from office also triggers fresh elections in most countries, rather than a transition to the vice president.

Go deeper: Putin calls Trump impeachment process "far-fetched"

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Trump impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Donald Trump is now the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.

The big picture: The legislative ending seems clear — he's headed for acquittal in the Senate as early as next month and won't be removed from office. But this seals his place in history.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Dec 19, 2019

Putin calls Trump impeachment process "far-fetched"

Photo: Kremlin Press Office / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that House Democrats' impeachment process against President Trump is "far-fetched" and predicted that the president will be acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate, the AP reports.

The big picture: Putin also echoed a Republican talking point during his annual press conference in Moscow, saying that "the party that lost the [2016 presidential] election, the Democratic Party, is trying to achieve results by other means" via impeachment.

Go deeper: Inside Trump's split-screen impeachment

Keep ReadingArrowDec 19, 2019

Poll: Fewer than half of Americans think Trump should be removed

Photo: Jess Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll released Thursday found that less than half of Americans polled believe Donald Trump, now the third president in U.S. history to be impeached, should be convicted in a Senate trial and removed from office.

Why it matters: The poll, conducted hours after the House charged Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, signifies that voters remain divided on impeachment and found that Wednesday's vote did little to change public opinion.

Go deeperArrowDec 19, 2019