After more than a month of political chaos no end is yet in sight, mainly due to the intransigence of a dumb president and a dumber party.
On the one hand, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has unwisely yet tenaciously pursued Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), attempting to oust him for alleged improper lobbying. On the other hand, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is unwisely and tenaciously trying to protect Wang — a member of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) — by repeatedly blocking Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) from giving a report to open the new legislative session, a constitutional requirement of his office.
Ever since the political turmoil broke out early last month, Ma has been busy providing proof — as if any were needed — that he is an impossibly stupid president by flouting the law and violating the Constitution — as he sees it — to protect the integrity of the judiciary. He has refused to listen to public opinion or take suggestions from KMT heavyweights and legislators, insisting on resolving the situation through the lawsuit filed by Wang while pushing for policies in the legislature as usual. Even the six major industrial and commercial groups, generally pro-government, held a joint press conference urging Ma to ease the political tension and concentrate on stimulating the economy.
In response, the Presidential Office says that Ma understands their call for political stability. In fact, he particularly emphasizes that the Executive Yuan will push for policies in the legislature to stabilize the political situation and boost the economy, but there is no sign that he will soften his stance on resolving the lengthy court proceedings. As the political disputes continue, Ma still wants to remove Wang from his post, while the speaker refuses to resign. Ma is refusing to address the concerns of the six major industrial and commercial groups.
If that was not dumb enough, ever since the new legislative session began in the middle of last month, the DPP’s legislative caucus has repeatedly blocked Jiang from giving a report to open the session. The party justifies these boycotts with accusations that he overstepped his authority by allegedly commenting on the legislature early last month. Specifically, it accuses him of allegedly talking about the legislative speakership, saying that the Executive Yuan is prepared to face a Legislative Yuan without Wang. So the party demands an apology, threatening “no apology, no report.”
Dominated by Ma and echoed by Jiang, the KMT has already revoked Wang’s party membership, hoping to remove him from the legislature by doing so, and Jiang allegedly made the above comment in response. Although he repeatedly denied that he made the comment during an exclusive interview with the Chinese-language United Evening News on Sept. 9, the headline of the newspaper on that day was: “A Legislative Yuan Without Wang? Jiang: We Are Prepared.”
Still, even if Jiang did chit-chat about the position of legislative speaker, it is absurd for the DPP to repeatedly block him from giving a report to the legislature. For more than a month now, DPP legislators have become Wang’s escort and shelter. How foolish can the DPP be? After Ma and Wang shook hands with each other at the Double Ten National Day celebrations on Thursday, this dumb party’s proposal for a no-confidence vote on the Cabinet will likely become a judgement on themselves.
Unfortunately, it seems that the president and the DPP — dumb and dumber — are conspiring to exacerbate the already fraught political situation. It really is a pathetic state of affairs.
Chiu Hei-yuan is a research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Sociology.
Translated by Eddy Chang