South Korean President Park Geun-hye has failed to attend a constitutional court hearing on her impeachment.
The session was closed after nine minutes and postponed to January 5 because of her absence.
On December 9, the parliament voted to impeach Park Geun-hye over a corruption scandal.
Park Geun-hye’s close friend Choi Soon-sil has been charged with abuse of power. The president is alleged to have been involved as well, which she denies.
Her impeachment case is being heard in a court by nine judges. They have 180 days to decide whether Park Geun-hye, who has been suspended from duties, should go or stay.
Though the court has requested her presence, Park Geun-hye’s lawyer has said she will not attend “unless there are special circumstances”, Yonhap news agency reported. If Park Geun-hye fails to appear for a second time on January 5, the hearing can proceed without her.
According to the Korea Times, the justices will be assessing whether she abused her power, took part in bribery and violated the rule of law, among other issues.
Park Geun-hye met reporters on January 1 to strongly deny allegations from prosecutors that she was involved in Choi Soon-sil’s dealings, calling them “distorted and false” suspicions.
Choi Soon-sil is said to have used her close relationship with Park Geun-hye to pressure companies into donating to two foundations which she controlled, and then siphoned off funds for her personal use.
The scandal has rocked South Korea, which has seen multiple mass protests calling for Park Geun-hye to step down and apologize.
The president has admitted giving Choi Soon-sil inappropriate access to government decisions and has publically apologized for this several times.
Separately, South Korean authorities said on January 3 they were proceeding with the extradition of Choi Soon-sil’s daughter, Chung Yoo-ra.
Chung Yoo-ra, a former national equestrian, was arrested in Denmark on January 1 for staying in the country illegally.
Part of the investigation into Choi Soon-sil’s activities relates to a gift horse from Samsung to her, allegedly for Chung Yoo-ra’s training.
Academics from the prestigious Ewha Women’s University in Seoul are also being investigated for admitting Chung Yoo-ra and allegedly giving her preferential treatment.