Three opposition caucuses yesterday invited President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to deliver an unprecedented national report to the legislature.
The caucus whips of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the People First Party (PFP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) held a joint press conference to urge Ma to deliver a national report and take questions from lawmakers in a question-and--answer session to uphold political accountability.
“The time is ripe for Ma to deliver a report, not only because all opposition parties support the initiative, but also because it is time for Ma to step forward and face the challenge of -accountability politics,” DPP whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said.
While the Constitution leans toward a semi-presidential political system and does not require the president to deliver a national report, the Acts Governing Exercise of Rights of the Legislative Yuan (立法院職權行使法) stipulate that the president may make such a report to the legislature if a legislative resolution is reached after a proposal endorsed by one-quarter of lawmakers or more.
It has been a while since Ma became an “invisible president,” becoming known as the “Facebook president” for choosing to communicate with the public through online social media, PFP whip Thomas Lee (李桐豪) said.
“Most of all, the president has been inconsistent with his policies before and after he was re-elected in January,” Lee said, adding that the three parties began working on their proposal last week.
“If Ma wishs to make his mark and leave a legacy for Taiwan’s political history, this is the right thing for him to do,” Lee said.
Authority and accountability should go hand in hand in any democracy, TSU whip Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) said.
As president, Ma went beyond the authority conferred by the Constitution by interfering with the selection of Cabinet members, as well as the formulation and implementation of many national policies that should have been supervised by the premier, Hsu said.
“Ma has violated the political system delineated by the Constitution, but he has not been held accountable for his abuse of power. This is not right,” Hsu said.
“[Delivering a national report] would be a great opportunity to set an example for accountability politics in Taiwan,” Hsu said.
The recent decision making process and policy formulation — with Ma maneuvering behind the scenes — has been ridiculous, but Ma was able to evade responsibility because he is not required to be questioned and monitored by the legislature, DPP Legislator Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡) said.
“What we have seen is that Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) has become Ma’s puppet since he could not make his own decisions on personnel and policy making,” Wu said.
Ma would be setting a great example for Taiwanese politics before the flawed Constitution is amended, he said.
The three parties hold 46 of the 113 seats in the legislature — the DPP has 40, while the PFP and the TSU each have three.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) controls the legislature, with 64 seats.