President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday responded to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) coalition government proposal by saying the public expected a clean government rather than a coalition.
“The DPP formed a coalition government when it was in power, but it only lasted 137 days. Rather than increasing government efficiency, the coalition made the political situation worse … What people need is a clean government,” Ma said as his motorcade made a stop in New Taipei City (新北市).
Ma’s comments came days after Tsai made the proposal. She said that if elected as president, her government would adopt a form in which “the premier does not necessarily have to be from the DPP.”
Questioning the practicality of Tsai’s proposal, Ma said that the public expected the president to build a government that would prevent corruption in any form, while raising Taiwan’s international competitiveness.
“More importantly, a nation’s leader should address cross-strait issues by presenting policies that can help establish a cross-strait consensus,” he said.
Ma, seeking re-election, also stressed the importance of the integrity of the government in an article posted on his Facebook page, with accusations of corruption against former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and officials in Chen’s administration.
Ma repeated his request for Tsai to apologize on behalf of the DPP for what he called “past mistakes” in the article, entitled “Rediscover the integrity that has been lost in Taiwan.” He questioned Tsai’s integrity over recent allegations about her role in an investment case and accused her of being evasive.
“If a presidential candidate hasn’t avoided a conflict of interest, and is evasive when confronted over the issue, how can we be sure that she would possess integrity when she becomes president? How can people take such a risk?” he said.
Meanwhile, Tsai said yesterday in Changhua County that her proposal to form a “grand coalition government” if elected has been well-received by the majority of the public.
She said it was regrettable that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) had mocked the proposal.
“How would the future Cabinet be formed? Everyone can sit down and communicate,” she said. “The purpose of the DPP returning to power is to allow the nation to be more united and to make the public more harmonious, with a more effective and more honest government that would match people’s expectations.”
“Why don’t you [Ma] want to see Taiwan’s political parties sit together and promote a consensus that could unify the public and stabilize domestic politics?” she asked.
The KMT should be more open-minded about accepting the idea of the proposed coalition government, she said, adding that the KMT dismissed such an idea because it had ruled Taiwan under an authoritarian government for such a long period and its attitude toward one-party politics had not changed since it returned to power in 2008.
People First Party (PFP) presidential candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜), a former KMT member, when asked about the coalition government proposal, said he would not know how to cooperate with Tsai because he has never felt they share the same opinions on major issues like cross-strait problems and the Constitution.
He touted himself as the only one among the three presidential candidates capable of forming a coalition, saying he has no political bias and is a man of sincerity.