A vote is underway on a motion in the South Korean parliament to impeach president Park Geun-hye, who may become the country's first democratically elected leader to be ousted from office.
Parliament is expected to vote in favor of impeachment, with support from some members of Park's own conservative Saenuri Party, but the Constitutional Court must decide whether to uphold the motion, a process that could take up to 180 days.
The parliamentary session for the vote began at 3 p.m. Korea time, with the secret balloting process expected to take about one hour.
Analysts said that lawmakers faced heavy pressure to vote for an impeachment.
"The public backlash to this scandal around President Park has been so broad-based, there will be at least some members who probably factor into their decision-making that the public receptivity to a vote not to impeach could potentially be quite harsh," Nicholas Consonery, senior Asia-Pacific director at advisory firm FTI Consulting, told CNBC's "The Rundown" on Friday.
Crowds of protestors were gathered outside the National Assembly building in Seoul on Friday ahead of the vote, with the number of pro-impeachment people vastly outnumbering the few attendees who said they supported the embattled president.
Ko Kwang-yong, a researcher for the minor opposition Justice Party, told CNBC that he expected the impeachment to be approved.
"An unofficial ran the state affairs for President Park. It is clearly an violation of the Constitution. When some 80 percent of Koreans support the idea, I think she will be impeached," he said.