When a vote of no-confidence against Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) initiated by the pan-green camp failed to pass the legislature on Saturday, the Taiwan Solidarity Union caucuses threatened to impeach President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) if his administration has still failed to address major issues by May 20 next year.
The idea of a motion to impeach Ma, which would require a proposal approved by two-thirds of all lawmakers and 50 percent votes from the nation’s eligible voters to be passed, is more symbolic than substantial given the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) absolute majority in the legislature. However, the suggestion again reflects the public’s disapproval of the Ma administration’s performance. It is time the government stopped ignoring such warnings.
On Saturday, the KMT caucus managed to block the motion to depose the premier with 66 votes to 46 votes. The KMT’s pan-blue ally, the People First Party (PFP) caucus voted to support the motion because it blames Chen for failing to properly address economic issues.
Ma, who had appointed Chen, a finance expert, to boost the economy, has frequently touted the latest Cabinet as an “economic Cabinet.” He has defended its efforts to rescue the economy while blaming the global financial crisis for poor economic figures.
The problem is that both Ma and Chen have been passive in the face of public grievances about the harsh economic situations. The Ma administration has been unable to recognize the roots of the economic problems and suffers from a lack of action, poor cross-departmental negotiation skills as well as poor execution of government policies.
In the latest survey released by Taiwan Indicator Survey Research (TISR) earlier this month, Ma’s approval ratings remained at just 21.3 percent, with 69.6 percent of those polled saying they were not satisfied with Ma’s governance.
More than 40 percent of respondents said they “had no impression whatsoever” about the Cabinet’s performance. Economic and financial officials were among the least popular Cabinet members, with Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-hsiang (施顏祥) holding the highest disapproval rating in the Cabinet at 42.2 percent, the survey showed.
The Ma administration seemed to be indifferent about the high disapproval rating. Prior to the legislature’s vote of no confidence, Ma partially reshuffled the Cabinet, appointing his close aides to top posts in cross-strait, foreign affairs and national security sectors. However, none of the officials in charge of the economy and finance were removed.
Saturday’s motion to depose Chen was only the nation’s second such vote after a motion of no confidence against former premier Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) in 1999. Although Siew also survived the motion, the public grievance against the then-KMT government remained high. The KMT later lost the 2000 presidential election to the DPP, with former Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) leading a peaceful transition of power from the KMT.
If the Ma administration continues to be impassive about these high disapproval ratings and views the opposition camp’s motions against them as nothing but political infighting, the KMT may well suffer defeat in the local elections in 2014. While Ma could avoid an impeachment next year, the people could vote against the KMT in the presidential election in 2016.
The public expects the government to present policies that address their needs and boost the economy and it should be a top priority for the Ma administration now to develop effective policies to raise the nation’s competitiveness. It is also crucial for the Cabinet to strengthen communications with the legislative branch to facilitate the implementation of government policies.
Former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo delivered a very short, succinct and accurate speech in regards to the US relationship with Taiwan in November last year. This information has again angered Beijing, which has stated that the existence of a free and independent Taiwan will not be tolerated. Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) has said Pompeo’s language is interfering with the sovereignty of China. Pompeo was stating the facts. Taiwan has never been a part of the People’s Republic of China or the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), therefore it is not a territory of China. The
No longer content to hide its capabilities and ambition, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) appears intent on alerting the world to its newfound strength by conducting various forms of military “gray zone” warfare in the Indo-Pacific region. One area of particular concern is the almost daily incursions by Chinese warplanes into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ). Last year, Chinese warplanes logged a record 380 incursions into Taiwan’s ADIZ, causing Taipei to scramble its fighter jets, issue warnings and activate missile defense systems. On Monday last week, Taiwan saw 25 Chinese military aircraft, including 14 Shenyang J-16 fighters, four Chengdu J-10
Where is the world’s disposition today vis-a-vis the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)? Is it similar to that in Munich, September 1938 when Europe’s powers appeased Adolf Hitler over the “Sudetenland,” despite existing treaty commitments? In other words, analogous to the failure to recognize the PRC’s aggressive intent and to mobilize in response to serial CCP outrages, e.g., Tiananmen and South China Sea; suppression of Hong Kong in violation of a treaty agreement; the internment and genocide of the Uighurs, and its complicity in the death of nearly 3 million people globally via its Wuhan Coronavirus. Do these “passes” now amount to
Foreigners who learn Mandarin mainly do so for one of two reasons — to do business in China, or to understand issues related to China. For those aiming to do business, it is sensible to learn the language in China. If it is to understand, learning in Taiwan is a good option, because such people are likely to be involved in national security or the military of their home countries. Taiwan is a much safer learning environment compared with China, and it is an information hub for issues related to China. There is access in Taiwan to the truth about the Chinese