Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members yesterday expressed mixed feelings about DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) plan to try to recall President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers, which he announced during the “Fury” (火大) rally in Taipei on Sunday. The government said such efforts were unlikely to succeed.
The reasoning behind the plan is legitimate because Ma’s governance has been poor, some DPP figures said, but others were concerned about the political ramifications the move could have and the difficulty of achieving the recall.
DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said the party is still working out how to proceed with the plan and has not decided which KMT lawmakers to try to recall, but added that it would try to achieve what Su said would be a bid to replace “incompetent government officials” and “irresponsible lawmakers.”
The DPP has to wait until Feb. 1 to launch a bid to recall lawmakers and May 20 for a bid to recall Ma, since regulations do not permit such actions until a politician has completed one year of their term.
DPP Central Executive Committee member Hung Chih-kune (洪智坤) supports the initiative, saying it was what the people wanted and would unite the party.
Hung was unconcerned about the high threshold for recalling the president — which has to be proposed by at least a quarter of the legislature and agreed to by at least two-thirds of members before passing a national referendum — because “an opposition party is obliged to apply pressure to the ruling party” and Taiwanese “no longer have the patience to wait three more years for Ma to turn the country around.”
Recalling a lawmaker is not as difficult, but still requires at least 2 percent of the total electorate in the relevant electoral district to propose such a move and a petition signed by at least 13 percent of voters, before being approved by a simple majority in the constituency.
However, Hung said the “China factor” would still be the deciding issue in major elections as it was responsible for marginalizing Taiwan internationally, eroding its sovereignty, hollowing out its economy and jeopardizing free speech.
The KMT’s argument that a recall would be socially destabilizing, is unconvincing because the current political situation is “extremely stable” due to the KMT’s dominance of the administrative and legislative branches, he said.
Former DPP legislator Lin Cho-shui (林濁水) said the recall plan was more of a political statement than a practical goal because it would be very difficult to achieve, adding that the DPP should instead focus on presenting its policy on pension reform and anti-media monopoly.
Former DPP legislator Julian Kuo (郭正亮) said that recalling KMT lawmakers and Ma would both be difficult.
The KMT lawmakers the DPP would most likely target are those from constituencies in northern Taiwan who earned landslide victories in the last legislative elections, including Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇), who beat the DPP candidate in his constituency last year by 17,696 votes, Kuo said.
It would be almost impossible to recall those legislators, he said.
Meanwhile, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said the DPP has little chance of passing a proposal to recall Ma in the legislature because the threshold for doing so is very high.
The DPP and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) hold a total of 43 seats in the 113-seat legislature, short of the two-thirds needed to pass a motion to recall Ma.
“They [the DPP and the TSU] can submit a motion to recall the president. There doesn’t seem much likelihood that the proposal will clear the legislature,” Wang said.
Meanwhile, Executive Yuan Secretary-General Steven Chen (陳士魁) said he respected the DPP’s right to free speech, but would like to remind the party that the Cabinet has embarked on reforms to address the issues raised at the Fury rally.