Pan-green parties yesterday announced they had launched an effort to impeach President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) over what they claim are policies that are detrimental to the country’s welfare, sparking accusations of troublemaking from the pan-blue camp.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) announced that the DPP and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) had initiated the process against Ma, which will unfold just days before his first term comes to a close and he is inaugurated for a second term.
The DPP and the TSU caucuses told a press conference at the legislature that the impeachment motion would be processed by the legislature’s Procedure Committee today, the last chance for the legislature to review the impeachment before Ma’s first term ends on Saturday.
According to Article 2 of the Constitution, impeachment of the president or vice president must be proposed by one-fourth of all legislators and raised in the legislative session after being ratified by two-thirds of legislators, after which the proposal has to be voted on by everyone eligible to vote in “the liberated area of the Republic of China [ROC].”
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) holds 64 seats in the legislature, against the DPP’s 40 and three each for the People First Party (PFP) and the TSU, with the remaining seats held by independents.
The impeachment would be valid if half of the total eligible population voted in its favor.
The current high threshold for impeaching a president serves as a safety net for presidents with consecutive terms in office and is detrimental to the country’s democratic process, Ker said.
“Since his election in 2008, Ma’s popularity has fallen to 15 percent and we wish to warn Ma that his first term of presidency will end with an impeachment,” Ker said, adding that the motion also serves to let history show the will of the people in current times and leave a record of the attempted -impeachment in the legislature.
“The policies of the Ma administration are completely against the public’s will and the impeachment effort against Ma is the right thing to do,” TSU spokesperson Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) said, adding that the TSU caucus would move to amend the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act (總統副總統選舉罷免法) and make the “unable to be impeached until one full year in office” clause inapplicable to a president who has won a second term.
Article 70 of the act states that presidents cannot be impeached within a year after they are sworn in. However, it does not say whether the rule applies to a president’s second term.
The amendment is to prevent presidents who have been elected for a second term from raising prices immediately after being elected and ruining the economy, Hsu said, adding that if the impeachment is not successful, the TSU would initiate another impeachment motion after the first year of Ma’s second term.
Reacting to the announcement, KMT legislators said the initiative to impeach Ma was nothing but “political in-fighting.”
The pan-blue PFP also opposed the impeachment motion, further reducing the already slim chances of the proposal passing the legislature.
KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said he regretted the DPP and the TSU were willing to “deliberately stir up trouble” with only a few days of Ma’s first term left.