DPP to start presidential impeachment

DUTIFUL::The initiative should not be seen as the DPP supporting Wang Jin-pyng in his struggle with Ma, but as action the main opposition party must take, the DPP said

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Sep 15, 2013 - Page 1

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) plans to initiate an impeachment of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in the Legislative Yuan, saying Ma’s political vendetta against Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) has jeopardized Taiwan’s constitutional order and political stability.

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) announced the initiative yesterday afternoon at the closing ceremony of a DPP-organized forum to review the party’s governance between 2000 and 2008, and called for non-partisan support in the legislature.

“Ma’s sabotage of the constitutional mechanism — the infringement of legislative authority and the separation of powers — is a serious concern. With this impeachment initiative, we want to have Ma face the legislature and explain his side of the story,” Su said.

The president has called Wang’s alleged illegal lobbying a cardinal sin in a democratic country and subsequently orchestrated revocation of the senior politician’s Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) membership, as well as seeking to invalidate Wang’s speakership.

Impeachment is one of the four measures that the DPP may initiate to hold Ma accountable for his actions, the others being asking for a reinterpretation of the Constitution, recall and a Cabinet motion of no confidence, Su said.

There are several reasons for the initiative as it is necessary for the legislature to take action against Ma’s infringement of its power, and impeachment is stipulated by the Constitution as a countermeasure against the president’s unconstitutional actions, Su said.

Most importantly, according to the Act Governing the Legislative Yuan’s Power (立法院職權行使法), Ma would have to face the legislature and report to the plenary once an impeachment initiative passes the threshold and has the signatures of at least half of the legislators, he said.

Since the opposition only controls 45 seats in the 112-member legislature, at least 12 votes from KMT lawmakers would be needed to pass the 50 percent threshold for the initiative to move forward.

Impeachment would then require the support of two-thirds of all legislators before being sent to the Council of Grand Justices for another round of discussion and voting, Su said.

“However, despite the difficulty we think this is the right thing to do,” he added.

The initiative should not be seen as the DPP supporting Wang in his power struggle with Ma, which, for the DPP, is the KMT’s business, but as an action the DPP must take as the main opposition party in the wake of Ma’s repeated unconstitutional political maneuvers, said a DPP aide, who wished to remain anonymous.

In addition to pursuing impeachment, DPP lawmakers have demanded an interpretation of the Constitution.

Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday said she would launch a campaign to recall Ma tomorrow with the establishment of a citizens’ alliance.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the DPP forum, Lu said she was launching the campaign because “Ma had pushed Taiwan to the brink of authoritarian rule and his actions have come to the point where they are almost unbearable.”

According to the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Act (總統副總統選舉罷免法), the recall of the president must first be nominated by one-fourth of all legislators, then ratified by two-thirds of all legislators before the legislature may ratify recall proposal.

The law also states that a successful recall requires 50 percent voter support for the motion and a turnout of more than 50 percent of registered voters.