Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday urged President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to resign, calling him incapable, disconnected with the public and too conservative.
“Ma is incapable and shameless. He should step down as president,” Lee told reporters while attending the Presbyterian Church’s celebration of its 150th anniversary in Taiwan.
“During his six years in office, government policies have become disconnected with the people. He only thinks of himself, while the public suffers so many troubles and problems. He has been unable to take care of any of the members of the public,” he said.
Ma might just as well step down voluntarily, Lee said, adding that if Ma remains, he would force him to resign.
“I asked him to step down because that way he can save face rather than being forced to resign,” Lee said.
The results of last month’s nine-in-one elections were the biggest failure for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which has existed for more than a century, “but Ma never thinks about reform,” Lee said.
“There was a Cabinet reshuffle, the premier stepped down, but the same people remain in the Cabinet; the only change is the vice premier taking over as premier,” Lee said.
When he pushed for reforms, Ma has always sided with conservative views, Lee said. For example when there was a movement for direct suffrage for the presidency, Ma supported electing the president via the national assembly.
While campaigning for Ma during his first run at the Taipei mayoral position in 1998, Lee said they discussed their political ideologies.
At the time, Ma said that he would follow Lee’s path to reform, the former president said.
“However, the truth is that he did not do so,” Lee said. “He has been completely opposed to reforms within the KMT.”
Lee said that some people believe the KMT lost so badly in the election because it did not nominate good candidates, but he thinks the KMT’s failure to show good leadership over the six years since Ma took office in 2008 was a more important factor.
“Ma does not care about the suffering of citizens — so many young people are unemployed, salaries are so low, houses are so expensive, they are afraid of getting married and having children — he only cares about developing ties with China,” Lee said.
On Dec. 1, two days after the nine-in-one elections, Lee, during an interview with SET-TV (三立電視), urged Ma to resign both as chairman of the KMT — which he did last week — and as president.
Lee repeated on Facebook on Tuesday night that Ma should resign as president immediately.
Yesterday marked at least the third time the former president has made the appeal.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan