One thing seems to have followed heads of state and ex-heads of states around this year: impeachment.

This is the process by which an executive, be that a prime minister, president or chief executive of a state, is put on trial by the legislature. If the legislature finds that person guilty, they can be charged and sentenced through the courts.

Here are the impeachment scandals that have occurred this year already.


Impeachment and corruption is a big feature in Brazilian politics at the moment.

After ex-president Dilma Rousseff was removed from office last year for breaking budgetary laws, her replacement Michel Temer is facing his own corruption scandal too.

He has been accused of receiving bribes in return for aiding several big businesses in the country.

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Brazil’s national newspaper, O Globo recently leaked secret recordings of Temer discussing bribes with one of Congress’s former speakers over his involvement with Operation Car Wash.

This is a wide-ranging investigation into the corruption that saw the construction company Petrobas making deals with companies in exchange for bribes.

Support for impeachment is growing in Brazil.

Michel Temer, the current president of Brazil

Hong Kong

Earlier this year, the former leader of Hong Kong Donald Tsang was sentenced to 20 months in jail for corruption. Tsang is the most senior city official to be imprisoned in the city.

Tsang left his leadership post in disgrace in 2012 after admitting to accepting gifts in the forms of trips on luxury yachts and private jets with tycoons.

Then, in 2014, his advisor Rafael Hui was sentenced to seven and a half years for receiving bribes from the head of a property company in the city.

Finally, corruption charges caught up with Tsang in 2015 when he was first charged.

At the trial, he was found guilty of misconduct in public office for deliberately concealing rental negotiations over a property belonged to a business Bill Wong Cho-bau, at the same time as his cabinet was discussed approving a digital license for a radio company in which Wong was a major shareholder.

“It’s extremely disappointing,” professor Steve Tsang, director of SOAS China Institute, told Verdict.

South Korea

South Korea’s political class has been engulfed in a corruption scandal for the past few months after president Park Guen-hye was impeached on corruption charges.

Her trial begins this week in the capital of Seoul, where Park pleaded not guilty to charges including bribery, abuse of state power and leaking state secrets, in connection with her friend and advisor Choi Soon-sil.

State prosecutors in the case have said that Park allowed Choi to use her presidential connections to pressure companies to give millions of dollars to a foundation she established in exchange for favourable treatment from the government.

The acting head of the Samsung Group is also on trial for charges linked to Park.

As the trial began in Seoul this morning, Park’s lawyers said there was “no reason for president Park to force companies to donate money which she was unable to use herself.”


Last October, Venezuela’s national assembly announced it was planning to push for impeachment proceedings against the country’s president Nicola Maduro.

The assembly said this was because: “there has been a breakdown of constitutional order and a continued state of coup led from the highest level of government by president Nicolas Maduro.”

The country is currently in the midst of an economic crisis, as well as massive shortages of food and medicine.

There are constant protests in the capital city of Caracas, objecting to Maduro’s attempts to rewrite the constitution and turn the presidency into a dictatorship, and around 40 people have been killed so far.

Despite attempts to oust Maduro, he has remained steady so far.

There have been protests in Venezuela to oust the current president

The elephant in the room: what about US president Trump?

Ever since Trump entered the White House in January this year, there have been calls to impeach the president.

This is mainly due to his campaign team’s alleged collusion with Russia to swing the vote in his favour.

This recently came to a head when the president fired the FBI director James Comey in order to put a stop to the investigation looking at the links between Trump’s ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn and the Kremlin.

Phil Henry, lecturer in sociology and criminology at the University of Derby, told Verdict:

The claims around Russia may not fit into constitutional grounds [around impeachment] but what it could do is raise other questions about breaches of public office in the context of other forms of exploitation or corruption, if it could be proved.

As the Trump-Russia saga carries on, we will have to wait and see if the alleged links can be proved and if it is enough for Congress to begin the impeachment process.