The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) plans to hold a large-scale march on the eve of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) second-term inauguration to protest against what the party called his inept governance that has fueled public anger.
DPP sources said that some party members had suggested that the march be held on the day of Ma’s inauguration. However, the party’s Central Standing Committee said that as some participants would be coming from southern and central Taiwan, the inauguration ceremony would have concluded by the time the protesters arrived in Taipei on May 20.
By holding the march on May 19, it would also give Ma time to respond to the concerns raised at the protest the next day, sources said.
According to Pan Men-an (潘孟安), the convener of the DPP’s 520 Task Force — the working group in charge of organizing the event — the march would focus on public grievances against government policies, such as soaring fuel prices, as well as plans to relax a ban on imports of US beef containing ractopamine residues, raise electricity rates and possibly increase tuition fees.
Meanwhile, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was visiting southern Taiwan, said Ma should respond to lawmakers’ call for the president to make a report to the legislature, as it was in line with democratic principles.
“If it were me, I would be happy to make the report to the legislature [as the president],” Lee said, while touring Greater Kaohsiung’s Meinong Township (美濃).
Lee said it was natural for the president to deliver a report to the legislature for the Taiwanese public to better understand the status of the nation, adding that the US president does the same.
“It seems to me that since 2000, Taiwanese presidents have come to think of themselves as emperors who do not need to listen to anyone,” Lee said, taking a shot at Ma of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) of the DPP.
Lee further expressed concern about Ma’s leadership and moves to centralize power.
In his meetings with Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) and Pingtung County Commissioner Tsao Chih-hung (曹啟鴻) on the second day of his three-day visit to the south, Lee talked about how local governments should fight for their power, rights and land.
The central government neither understands the public’s hardships and difficulties nor collects input and opinions from people, he said.
The public and local governments should stand up and do something to make their lives better, Lee said, adding that development in southern Taiwan would dramatically improve if Greater Kaohsiung and Pingtung were to collaborate.
Taiwanese have always been told what they should do by various regimes — from the Spanish to the Dutch, Koxinga, the Qing Dynasty, the Japanese and the KMT — in the past 400 years, he said.
“It’s time for Taiwanese to decide what they want and what they need,” Lee said.
Lee said Taiwanese democracy needed a second wave of reform. He said he was only able to amend the Constitution and turn the nation’s presidential election into a direct vote when he was president, and there were many other areas that still need to be improved.
Lee cited the example of Toru Hashimoto, mayor of Japan’s Osaka Prefecture, who advocates an Osaka Restoration movement.
Politicians with passion and fresh ideas are desperately needed in Taiwan, and people should never lose their passion for and belief in their country, Lee said.
Translated by Jake Chung, Staff writer